Growing Garlic in Pots – Success or Failure?

Since moving to Portugal we now use far more garlic in our food than in the UK. Reportedly, garlic acts as a great mosquito repellant because they dislike the taste of your skin/blood when garlic is absorbed into the body. I am not sure how true this is, but I no longer have as many bites as I did before my garlic addiction. (Hopefully, I am not tempting fate by saying this). Anyway, I decided to experiment and grow garlic in pots. How difficult could it be…?

I think it’s safe to say a picture(S) saves a 1000 words!

November (2010), I divided up heads of garlic and planted the cloves in several large pots.
November (2010), I divided up heads of garlic and planted the cloves in several large pots.
February 2011: They are sprouting well and I am really optimistic!
February 2011: They are sprouting well and I am really optimistic!
April: The leaves (I think these are called scapes?) continue to grow well.
April: The leaves (I think these are called scapes?) continue to grow well.
End of May: What's happening beneath the surface? Approaching the task with the same care as in archaeological dig I tentatively scraped away some soil to investigate.
End of May: What's happening beneath the surface? Approaching the task with the same care as in archaeological dig I tentatively scraped away some soil to investigate.
End of July: The foliage had died off so I eagerly dug up all the heads of garlic. What a disppointment they were not much bigger than my cherry tomatoes!
End of July: The foliage had died off so I eagerly dug up all the heads of garlic. What a disappointment they were not much bigger than my cherry tomatoes!
I then tried to plait the garlic, but there is a definite knack to this! Not much to show for 7 months growth! There is always next year.
I then tried to plait the garlic, but there is a definite knack to this! Not much to show for 7 months growth. Never mind, there is always next year.

The moral of the story is: I can’t just stick garlic cloves in pots and expect them to grow!

They don’t…

I think I need some tips for a more successful crop next year…

All suggestions gratefully received!?

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40 thoughts on “Growing Garlic in Pots – Success or Failure?

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  1. At least you had some luck with growing garlic, we’ve tried and tried but never get any joy. I don’t know if it’s too much sun, or not enough and the same with water too. I take it pots don’t work very well. We had shoots but no actual garlic, well, a tiny thing that looked like a shrivelled grape!

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  2. Well…first off you need to water them every day ,,growing in pots is not a great way because it dosen’t have enough soil over the seeds and it is hard to keep them wet enough to grow..having a garden is the better way ,,but you must water every day,,as for keeping away mosquito’s try planting Basil,Lemongrass

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  3. I applaud your all-star try. I think you did fabulous for your first try. I’ve never grew garlic so I can’t make any suggestions. I can only encourage you to keep your gardening efforts. You’ll get the hang of it yet. 🙂

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  4. At least you grew garlic small or not. I have never tried to grow garlic so I can be of no help. I do not have much luck growing anything that requires much care. I bet the garlic you grew will still taste good no matter that it is small. Hugs

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  5. When garlic is harvested commercially, it is sprayed to stop it from sprouting, so that’s probably why yours didn’t come to much. Best to buy seed garlic from a grower.
    Also, I don’t think they do well in pots – the pots dry out too quickly and garlic needs moisture; if you have the room, plant them in the garden next time. I think they take 6/7 months before you can harvest.

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    1. Hi Barb – interesting point re sprouting. I bought my garlic heads from the local farmers market, plus a friend in Northern Portugal sent me some American garlic which she grows. I think perhaps next time I need to be even more generous with the water. I grow in pots as I have better control We have very sandy soild here and the water seems to just sit on top.
      I will have to see if I can buy some garlic seed from somewhere and try again!

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  6. Maybe you can start a craze for mini-garlic. 🙂 They were really very cute!
    Seriously though, I’ve never tried garlic…but I’m sure you can find lots of hints online…good luck next time.:) Growing anything in soil is good for the soul!

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  7. I applaud your effort! If you want to try growing the garlic next year, maybe try deeper pots.
    We are trying our hand at growing asparagus. I have heard it takes a couple of years for it to really get going. Only time will tell.

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    1. Hi Sami,
      reading the link you included I seemed to have done everything by the book. Maybe the cloves I planted were not of good quality. I will have to go to the farmers co op and see what I can find out!

      Cheers
      PiP

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  8. Cherry garlic! What a brilliant idea! I’ve always been a huge fan of (eating) garlic and my wife is Korean and they really use heaps of it. In my mind, if you walked away with more garlic than you started out with, you were successful!

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  9. You did good… They look okay. Hey for a first batch right? 🙂
    Checking back in to catch up after a lull on the comments front but hectic on the home front. 🙂

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