Indoor Gardening with Garlic Greens

Growing your own garlic greens during the winter is an inexpensive way to feed two needs at once: a gardener’s need for growing and a cook’s need for something tasty.

A gardener’s long wait for spring planting goes a lot faster if there’s some planting and harvesting to pass the time.

One of the easiest (and cheapest) ways to feed my need to sow and grow is by planting a small pot of garlic for growing greens.

Garlic cloves planted in this way won’t produce garlic bulbs, but they will send up tasty greens that can be snipped and used in all kinds of recipes.

One of the nice things about this kind of indoor gardening is that it’s a frugal way to add flavor to winter-time cooking.

For a container of garlic greens you’ll need 8-10 small garlic cloves, a small pot or other container with drainage holes, a saucer and potting soil.

For my garlic greens, I broke apart a head of garlic leftover from my garden because its cloves were too small to peel. It’s a good way to recycle cloves too old to use in recipes.

Fill the pot almost to the top of the container with potting soil. Separate the head of garlic into individual cloves, but leave the peel on.

Place each clove in the soil, pointy end up and root end down, planting cloves close together. Gently water to make sure the soil is moist.

Place the pot and saucer on a sunny windowsill and keep the soil moist, but don’t let the pot stand in water.

After about a week, little green shoots will start to appear. Wait until the greens are about 6-8 inches tall before harvesting with scissors. Expect a few cuttings before the cloves stop producing.

If you’re enjoying the process, and want a continuous harvest, plant another pot of garlic cloves before the first bunch starts winding down.


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This is a great idea but… You don’t say how deep to plant the cloves. Should the tips be visible or covered by how much? Should you harvest all of the greens from each clove at one time or snip a little from each clove?

Hi Ann:

Thanks for your good questions about growing garlic greens. Plant the cloves close together and so a little of the pointy tips are exposed and visible. You can harvest the greens however you like–snip a little as you need them or clip a bunch for a recipe. The greens will keep growing until they’re done. Then you can plant more.

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