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A garlic bed is essential for every gardener. Seed stock garlic bulbs, on the other hand, are typically double the price of grocery store bulbs. Gardeners frequently wonder “can I just grow grocery store garlic instead?” when there is such a significant price difference.
Yes, however there are a few things you should consider before diving right in.
Garlic, for example, might spread diseases if it isn’t permitted to develop. Let’s talk about how to cultivate garlic you bought at the market
Should You Grow Grocery Store Garlic?
Garlic can be grown and planted in a grocery store. Garlic that has been purchased from the store will typically sprout and grow as quickly as seed stock garlic. Garbage store garlic is planted by many home gardeners, and they have had good success with it. Garlic from the supermarket, on the other hand, might bring a slew of challenges to your garden.
Food garlic has no equivalent to the seed stock bulbs (which are commonly sold at seed supply shops and catalogs) in terms of quality control assurances. Planting the cheaper and simpler option is definitely a gamble. Let’s talk about it
Risks of Grocery Store Garlic
So, what are the hazards of growing supermarket garlic? If it’s edible enough to eat, then it should be edible enough to grow, right?
1. Old Garlic
The risk of failure to sprout grocery store garlic is one of the greatest. Fresh garlic seed stock is available. It hasn’t been kept for a long period of time. Garlic from the grocery store may be quite old. Garlic keeps for a long time, but it takes a long time to grow and sprout.
Garlic that is available for sale in many grocery shops is over a year old. It has been dried out completely, and even a year in the warm, wet earth will not re-establish it. You may only get one or two scrawny garlic plants when you plant a grocery store garlic bed. You might also have a bumper crop at other times.
2. Wrong Variety
When you go to the grocery store to buy garlic, you might be buying a hard or soft-necked kind, but you don’t know. Hard-neck garlic is more cold-tolerant than soft-neck garlic. Even in the most harsh climates, it produces robust, flavorful bulbs and spicy scapes.
Hard-neck garlic is the sole kind that will overwinter and develop in the spring for those living in regions 5 and colder.
Soft-necked garlic must be sown early in the spring in cold areas. Plant in early spring to avoid losing your whole crop if you’re growing grocery store garlic bulbs (unless the bulbs are labeled as a hard-neck variety).
3. Treated Bulbs
Growth inhibitors are used on some grocery store garlic, but not all of it. Some of the garlic bulbs purchased in the supermarket have come from China. Garlic is frequently treated with sprout-inhibiting chemicals when it has spent a long time in transit because of its spend time in transit.
Of course, your garlic harvest will be ruined by these chemicals. Instead of buying generic, unlabeled bulbs, go for locally grown garlic if your grocery store sells it. To avoid the chemicals that make cultivating garlic difficult, look for organically grown garlic.
4. Inconsistent Bulbs
There’s no telling what kind of bulbs grocery store garlic will create since it can come from a variety of sources and vary dramatically in age, health, and species. Tiny, feeble bulbs and huge, beautiful bulbs may be found in the same soil. It’s a tossup.
Even so, garlic seed stock can yield unexpected outcomes. Gardening is a risky business. In reality, grocery store bulbs were both my greatest and worst growing seasons for garlic. It’s possible to be inconsistent and succeed.
5. Pests and Diseases
The risk of introducing pests and diseases into your soil is by far the most important issue when planting grocery store garlic. It might bring in viruses, fungus, and allium-specific parasites, especially if you’re purchasing garlic from faraway farms.
A wide range of pests and diseases are kept at bay on garlic farms in California and China with commercial chemicals. These pests and diseases may survive in the soil in your home garden for years.
Choose organic bulbs when purchasing garlic at the grocery store to plant. The risk of disease or pests being carried by these bulbs is significantly lower.
How to Grow Grocery Store Garlic The Right Way
That may seem like a long list of flaws, but if you treat plantable grocery store garlic the same way you would seed garlic, you’ll be fine. For home gardeners, grocery store garlic may be a good option, notwithstanding the aforementioned guidelines.
Even organic bulbs cost little (as little as $1). You may generally get access to locally grown types that will thrive in your growing zone at a good grocery store.
There are a few ways to increase your chances of success if you decide to plant grocery store garlic instead of seed stock garlic.
If you can find special, “Buy Local” displays in your grocery store that have access to local garlic, go for it. I assure you that the product you are purchasing will operate much better than the one you are replacing.
Look at farmer’s market garlic if your grocery store doesn’t offer local produce. It’s guaranteed to be untreated with anti-sprouting chemicals and will be fresh, local, and delicious.
Organic garlic bulbs are available at most grocery stores if you can’t find local garlic. Organic bulbs are more likely to sprout successfully than regular garlic, despite being as old as conventional garlic.
Since conventional garlic sprouts and grows more likely, anti-sprouting agents can only be used on it.
Check Your Seasons
Check the growing zones for both hard and soft-neck garlic if you’re purchasing grocery store garlic. Plant your bulbs in the early spring if your soft-neck garlic cannot withstand a winter in your growing zone. To keep the freshly sowed cloves from being exposed to severe weather, mulch heavily for fall-planted bulbs. Remember, an late garlic harvest is preferable to no harvest at all.
Whether you buy it at the grocery store or get it from a seed catalog, garlic planting is simple. In the autumn, plant hard-necked garlic. Unless you live in USDA zones 1-5, in which case you should only plant in the spring, soft-necked garlic may be planted in the fall or spring.
Start by preparing your soil when it’s time to plant. Even during the summer, find a location that will be in full sun. I like to use compost and goat manure because they contain a lot of rich, organic matter. While setting out garlic cloves rows, keep the soil loose and well-drained.
Divide & Plant
Each garlic clove divides into multiple cloves. Peel off the outer layer of paper, but leave the cloves packed in their protective layer. Place each clove pointy-side up in the ground. 1 to 3 inches below the soil surface is where the garlic clove’s tip should be.
Water all of your cloves once they’ve been planted. Even beneath the surface of the soil, you don’t have to soak the soil; instead, the whole garlic bed should be damp. After watering, touch a finger into the dirt. Keep watering if you can’t sense moisture across your whole finger.
Mulching is a excellent strategy even if you know you’re planting toughy, hard-necked garlic. Particularly if you live in a location where the ground is frequently below freezing before there is a protective coating of snow.
Cover the garlic bed with straw or clean, fallen leaves to mulch it. Water lightly again once or twice every week or two if there is a long gap between your garlic planting and the first hard frost.
It’s a good idea to apply a little fertilizer again in the early spring. Wait until the soil is workable before working on it. Next, add a little bone meal or well-composted manure to help with the absorption.
Do not include chicken manure or high-nitrogen items, such as veggie trimmings. Instead, concentrate on root development. For root development, balanced fertilizers with more phosphorus and potassium are recommended.
While I’ve had great success with well-composted sheep and goat manure, try blood or bone meal for strong root and bulb-building nutrients.
Take a look at our guide if you’re not sure when to harvest your gorgeous new garlic bulbs.