Let me clarify. For this to work, you can’t use the entire garlic bulb. You’ll be using the bigger outer cloves for food or vampire hunting. Then, the inner part with tiny unusable cloves, the one we usually discard into the compost, can be saved and regrown. This is a waste reduction technique, for when you can’t get your hands on new garlic bulbs every year, and need to push your food use to the limit. You or your kids may find yourselves doing this in the future. Or doing it now as a hobby! This process takes two years from start to finish, so patience is something you’ll need.
Garlic is, from a biology perspective, a thin, disk-like woody stem. The bottom of it is where the roots grow, and the top is where the cloves form. When you pull off all the cloves, the disk is what is left over. You can not plant the disk alone and have it grow new cloves. But…. if you leave those thin little cloves from the center attached to the disk and plant it, you get “seed cloves” of garlic. A single seed clove can be planted and you’ll get a whole head of garlic from each one. What I’ll outline below is how to grow your own seed garlic cloves from the currently useless inner bulbs, and not waste food.
The first step is to pull off the usable garlic cloves from your bulb. If you only have the one bulb, plant all the bigger cloves. Or, go make pickles!! Or spaghetti sauce. Or fermented honey-garlic. Do not pop off those tiny garlic cloves, or any clove you find too small to use. Then take the disk, along with the attached cloves, and plant it. It should be planted deep enough for the whole thing to be below ground. The tips of each clove should remain at the surface. They will grow from the disk, punching up leaf shoots, becoming larger over the course of the growing season, then what you get is the seed garlic for next season’s garlic bulbs.
Harvest them when you pull the rest of your garlic, when the bottom half of the leaves are dead and yellowed. Cure in a dark, warm, well ventilated room (fans are a plus, or outdoors on a warm covered patio). Break apart the bigger cloves next season and plant individually. Then replant the disk with small cloves! Make sure to mark them so you know what’s what.
And that’s an infinite garlic loop, folks.
Did you know garlic was used by the British in World War I as a paste in wound care? It has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.
Do you agree? Have you or someone you know attempted this? Let us all know in the comments below.
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