In the last several years I have become a big fan of green garlic. For those not familiar with it, green garlic is sort of a baby garlic that is harvested early in the season before it is fully mature. The taste is all garlic, but milder and more mellow than mature garlic. Both the green and white parts are edible, and it can be harvested at any stage. When real young the stems look more like a scallion, and when the bulb starts to form I think it looks more like a spring onion.
Last year I grew green garlic in a bed just outside the greenhouse door. I harvested it starting in March, when it looked like the one in the above photo. I was still harvesting it in June, when it was making bulbs and nearing maturity. The below photo shows some I dug in mid May. All total I harvested over two pounds of this year, and it was a welcome addition in the kitchen.
I usually choose any garlic that is sprouting to use as planting stock for green garlic. Many of the Turban types I grow don’t keep very long, and some of them are already beginning to sprout. That’s a variety called Maiskij in the below photo, and you can see it’s raring to go start growing! It’s one of the earliest maturing of the many garlic cultivars I grow, but not a real heavy yielder. This year I decided to not plant it with the main crop garlic, but instead to grow it exclusively as green garlic. If I let a few of the plants mature next year and form bulbs, I can plant it again next fall for another round of green garlic.
This year I’m going to grow the green garlic in a bed adjacent to where it grew last year. I didn’t do a lot of soil prep. I just loosened up the soil a bit with my digging fork, and added a little organic fertilizer (3-4-4) before planting. I plant the cloves a lot closer than I do for my main crop, setting them about two or three inches apart and about two inches deep. After planting I covered with soil and mulched the area with a little straw.
When I was preparing the bed, I noticed a couple of clumps of garlic growing in the bed where the green garlic was growing earlier this year. Apparently I missed harvesting two plants, which went ahead and bulbed up and then sprouted this fall! I carefully dug up the clumps, and decided to plant them in a container to use for green garlic.
There was a total of 16 plants, and I teased them apart and clipped the roots a bit before planting in a window box planter. Green garlic is easy to grow in containers, and it can spend the winter either outdoors or inside. I’ll keep this one in the greenhouse, and it should give us green garlic even earlier than those planted in the ground.
We love garlic here at Happy Acres, and my goal is to have homegrown garlic year round. Growing green garlic is another way to enjoy the taste of homegrown garlic, and it helps fill the gap between one season’s crop and the next. It’s also a great crop itself, and if you’ve never tried growing it you might consider giving it a try in your garden.