Growing Baby Garlic

March 22, 2006

Need to find a creative use for those left over garlic bulbs that you stored but didn’t get around to using during the winter months?

Here’s an idea; plant the extra garlic cloves out in the garden and grow a crop of delicious baby garlics.

Teaching Old Garlic New Tricks

By now the garlic that was harvested last summer is probably sprouting or beginning to shrivel in storage anyway, so why not plant what you’re not going to be able to use in the kitchen and enjoy fresh baby garlic in just a few short weeks.

The idea here isn’t to produce the full sized garlic bulbs that you’ll get out of your fall planted garlic bed, but rather to grow baby garlic plants that can be used to spice up a few early spring meals.

Baby GarlicGrowing and using baby garlic, also know as green garlic, can be compared to spring onions. It’s the swollen central stem, small root bulb, and tender young green leaves that will be harvested and used in the kitchen. The flavor isn’t as strong as fully mature garlic, but it will impart a mild garlic flavor to your favorite recipes.

Planting and Growing Baby Garlic

Growing baby garlic is simple enough, just press the garlic cloves an inch or so into the soil in a corner or end of one of you raised beds. We’re not growing mature garlic bulbs so plant the cloves very close together, with only an inch or two separating them. They can even be grown indoors or in containers.

To produce baby garlic, plant the seed cloves in the fall or as early in the spring as possible. After the plants have been growing for a few weeks in the spring you can begin harvesting and using baby garlic just like spring onions.

You can also use thinnings from your regular garlic bed in the same way if planted thickly. I usually plant a section of my fall garlic specifically for baby garlic production. After you harvest the green garlic you’ll still have plenty of time to plant other spring crops in the same area of the garden.

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  • Lisa

    I never grew baby garlic, is it like the garlic we have growing wild up here in the north? Or is it just baby garlic that you plant in the spring and it doesn’t have time to really grow? I plant my garlic in the fall and let it sit over the winter, it is in the ground for 8 months. I enjoy eating my home-grown garlic all year round. Just needs the right temperature for storage. Right now I just harvested my garlic and it is hanging getting plenty of air and will sit there for a month to cure. I have to take the biggest cloves to plant for next year’s crop. Organize the date to when you want to harvest, you need alot of heat for the bulbs to grow in their final stage. No watering!

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  • Christie

    we have planted baby garlic forever, just takes a lil patience, but turns out fine every time, most of the bulbs that are kept in the ground the extra year or two are bigger and just as good.

    I do have a compliment and question. This is one of the best garlic websites around, thanks for all the great reading.
    question: let’s say I buy a pound of gourmet hardneck garlic (60 cloves), how many “pounds” would it kind of make when harvested?
    Any idea knowing? Even a close estimate? Is there a chart somewhere, or is that too exacting 🙂

    There is no garlic in our area for at least 500 miles and we have thought about buying 10 pounds, we already have prepped the ground, but need to know kind of how many pounds we will harvest?

  • Christie

    oh ps Lisa

    the USDA generally and also this clip from Keene Organics online say medium is just as good, don’t have to use the biggest.

    Just trying to help, sis 😉

    There is a positive correlation between the size of the clove planted and the size of the bulb harvested. Some growers grade their cloves by size/weight and plant the largest. Large cloves yield large bulbs, as long as there are no limitations in the environment.

    Medium size cloves offer the largest percent increase of growth while still reaching a market size. Small cloves produce small bulbs but can be used to multiply an attractive garlic strain. For example, I purchased 1lb. of small Yugoslavian garlic bulbs, and planted them. I ended up with a nice crop of about 8 pounds with medium size bulbs. I planted only the large bulbs and ate the rest! That resulted in approx. 12lbs. of large bulbs, 25lbs. of medium size bulbs, and 8 lbs. of small bulbs.

  • kirat Patel

    I want to know why baby garlic can not be grown all year around. It is available only for the period of four to six weeks around spring time only.
    what conditions are necessary to grow baby garlic ?

  • Kenny Point

    Baby garlic probably can be grown year round if you can get the cloves to germinate. No special conditions, they are easy to grow and can even be raised in a container.

  • Samuel

    baby garlic grows year round, in the north and in the south. Perfectly.
    No matter the size of bulb or sprout (baby garlic) you plant, just leave it in the ground longer for a bigger size. We do it consistently with all types of garlic sprouts and bulbs and always just turns out fine.

  • Barbee

    I did this with the baby cloves that developed atop the scapes last year.
    Now I have a TON of baby garlics.
    Next time I’ll plant only the largest cloves as the tiny ones aren’t really useful.

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