Sunday, February 5, 2017

Budget Balcony Garden - Growing Garlic

What do you do with that forgotten garlic you found sprouting in the cupboard? You plant it!  But only in your container garden on the balcony. Many gardeners report that it is important not to plant grocery store-bought garlic cloves in your garden due to the possibility of passing along plant disease. But they also say that you can safely plant your garlic cloves in a container on your budget balcony. This is how my garlic experiment is going so thus far.

How My Garlic Garden Experiment is Beginning

I found a sprouted garlic in my cupboard. My initial thought was to toss it into the trash. But I paused and tried to do some research and asked some gardeners online.

My concern was heirloom versus hybrid and would it be worth trying to plant. I am not a very knowledgeable gardener and before I was aware of the differences between hybrid and heirloom plants in general, I had saved some seeds from a favorite plant only to find that it didn't result in the same plant the following year. I was very disappointed.  So I didn't want to plant garlic cloves if they were going to turn out to be something other than the garlic I wanted.

It turns out that there are many conflicting opinions about planting garlic from the grocery store. Some believe that the garlic from the store is treated in a way that will not allow it to grow properly. Others show photographs of their successful garlic plants from garlic cloves from the grocery store. Many report concern about spreading disease or fungus in your garden when using garlic cloves from the grocery.

Since I would be planting these cloves in a container on my balcony, I was not concerned about spreading disease. And, since they were already sprouting, perhaps they would grow. Maybe, just maybe, I'll grow my first garlic.

January 21 - I found the sprouting garlic.  I divided the cloves and planted three cloves in a planter. I used leftover potting soil from planters on the balcony and some of the wonderful accidental compost I had made. The other cloves I placed in a small  measuring cup of water.

January 28 - two of the cloves in the planter had grown considerably. The cloves in water were also growing but not quite as tall.

February 4  -  the garlic plants in the planter range from 8" to 15" tall. The cloves in water are still doing well but are only 4" to 6" in height.

Space-Saving Planters and Balcony Gardens

Did you notice that my planter is only half of a planter?  I intentionally chose one of my old "garden wall" planters. Currently, my little garlic sprouts are on a shelf and in front of a window in my dining room. As the weather warms, I will hang my garlic plants outside - from the balcony rail. That way they are out of the way and saving space.

The following planters are similar in size to the old planter I have.

wall planters that can attach to balcony rails

Intro photo design created courtesy of  FotoJet

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  1. Always fun to read your gardening hints, Dawn Rae. There are so many things about gardening I don't know. :) You make it sound simpler with your tips for a tiny garden on a balcony.

    I didn't know that there was such a thing as 'wall planters'. I can see how handy that would be for small things like garlic plants (and herbs, I would imagine).

    1. "wall planters" are great. You can see the holes in the back of my old planter? I used bolts and washers and connected the planter to my balcony rail. I just have to remember where I put those bolts and washers! haha.

  2. This would be a really fun project for the kiddos. Your garlic looks great and I'm looking forward to watch the progress as you post more pictures. I like the wall planters, too. Clever!

  3. This would be a really fun project for the kiddos. Your garlic looks great and I'm looking forward to watch the progress as you post more pictures. I like the wall planters, too. Clever!

  4. Oh, I can hardly wait to see if you like the way it tastes. The sprouts surely do look healthy and pretty. I love that you are willing to just jump out there and test it. Nothing like making your own discovery.

  5. Our garlic here comes from Spain so I wonder if it would be okay in the garden. Will give it a try. :)

  6. This would be a fun project for my students.