Growing Garlic from Grocery Store Bulbs: A gardening experiment

Just before the first frost hit (back in early fall), I decided on a whim to do a quick test on growing garlic from grocery store bulbs.

And I mean quick! I was in the middle of prepping dinner when it occurred to me that it was the perfect time to try this in Georgia so I jerked 4 cloves off of the garlic bulb I was using and ran outside. I cleared my herb pot (a huge galvanized pot) of debris and pulled any dead plants out. I had my kitchen shears so I trimmed the chives back and then used a little shovel I use to plant flowers to loosen the soil up real well.

I stuck the cloves with the root side down (pointy side up) and covered it with soil. Then I grabbed leaves off the ground around the pot and tossed those on top.

I went back inside, washed my hands, got dinner going and forgot about them.

A few weeks later I went out to play with the dog and remembered them. I was surprised to find that I had greens shoots!

I went out today to check on them and here they are:


I’ll be honest, I didn’t think they would come up at all. To say that I’m surprised and a little giddy about them growing working is an understatement. According to our Extension Service, if the bulbs do actually form, they’ll be ready for harvest in early summer. Some sources say that store-bought garlic won’t work. And it may not produce large bulbs at all.

I can’t wait to see if this basically free experiment works. I’ve read several articles recommending planting in the late fall underneath shrubs. I keep saying I’m going to try it but I always forget.

I’ll let you know this summer…if I don’t forget them! 🙂


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