Garlic is easily grown hydroponically, as with anything- there are a few tricks and a few drawbacks. One big drawback to growing garlic in your home is the stench. Garlic has a very strong odor - not just the bulbs , but the plant itself. Grown outdoors, the aroma dissipates into the atmosphere - indoors it permeates a room.
Growing garlic for personal use, I would recommend trying just a few plants at a time, starting them a varying intervals. Starting a few at a time - at varying stages ensures the odor will not overtake your home or grow room,and allows for the needs of the average household.
Mature Healthy Garlic plants can reach a foot and a half- sometimes more, so you'll want to have adjustable height lights or vertical lighting, as the plant tips may eventually be hitting or coming too close to overhead lighting.
Garlic can be started from seed, but is best started from "cloves", each clove, which is a segment of the full bulb will produce another new bulb. If you are using store bought garlic to start, you don't have much of a choice as to the variety you will be growing. Softneck garlic is the best for indoor growing as it does not require a cold winter to bloom - but hardnecks can also be grown indoors successfully
Assuming you are using a store bought garlic, you'll naturally want to use only the best. The best will produce the best.
Separate the amount of full healthy cloves you intend to plant. Leave the paper husk on them, plant them in perlite, perlite vermiculite mix, or coco coir leaving the pointed end facing upwards. Roots will sprout from the fat end.
See Hydroponic Growth Mediums
Place them just below the surface, don't leave the tip exposed. Dampen them slightly. If you let them continuously grow and mature, new cloves with continue to generate and divide, be sure to use a basket large enough if this is your intent.
It should take 45 - 60 days for the garlic plants to emerge. Ideal conditions are temperatures between 35 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit. They will generate sprouts in temperatures of 40 degrees Fahrenheit or slightly higher.
Garlic plants will thrive just fine when grown close together and don't take up much room horizontally. Spacing plants about 3 1/2 - 4 inches apart is just dandy.
You can also start garlic in a glass of water, in a cool location, keeping the cloves lower half of submerged until roots sprout and then placing it in your hydroponic system. Don't leave it submerged for very long once the roots appear, or rot will usually follow.
Let there be light, and plenty of it, a bare minimum of 6 to 8 hours daily, but up to 10 or 12 hours is best. Do not leave the light on 24/7 - like all plants, garlic also requires the darkness.
Related Articles Hydroponic Grow Lights
Garlic is very hardy once it is established temperatures as low as 30 degrees Fahrenheit for short intervals, and up to 85 degrees Fahrenheit are fine.
Garlic does well with a pH of at least 6.0 ,up to 6.5. As always, you should follow the guidelines of the nutrient line that you are using to ensure that your plants are receiving the proper quantities of macro and micronutrients.
Related Topics pH in Hydroponics Hydroponic Nutrients
Pests and Disease
Garlic doesn't have many pest problems in the garden , it's actually a natural pest repellent. Diseases that plague garlic is generally limited to fungal, such as white Rot. Some pests that bother onions will also attack garlic but not as frequently, and the vampires will also be repelled.
In a conventional garden, garlic is harvested when more than half the leaves have turned yellow-brown, In a hydroponics garden the maturation is accelerated and you can actually see the cloves without digging them up - so judging when to harvest is simplified.
Hang the bulbs up to cure for up to six weeks in a shaded, dry, and well ventilated area. If you're going to plant more garlic you may want to save the biggest and best-formed bulbs to replant .