September 12, 2023

September Plant of the Month: Un-peel the Magic of Garlic

In the world of culinary delights, garlic is the unsung hero that adds a punch to dishes, and we're here to peel back its layers of flavor, history, and cultivation. Prepare to embark on a journey through the world of this clove-rly versatile herb, as we dive into its roots and reveal why it's not just a kitchen essential, but also a fantastic hydroponic indoor plant.

September Plant of the Month: Un-peel the Magic of Garlic

Published by Plant3r9 minute read


Garlic, a small but mighty herb, has long held a special place in our kitchens and our hearts. Its unmistakable aroma and flavor make it a staple ingredient in countless recipes worldwide. Yet, garlic is more than just a culinary superstar; it boasts a rich history, a variety of uses, and a treasure trove of health benefits. In this blog post, we embark on a flavorful journey to unveil the wonders of garlic. So, let's peel back the layers and explore why this aromatic herb is an indispensable addition to our culinary repertoire and beyond. From its origins to its many varieties, cultivation tips, and its myriad of applications, prepare to be captivated by the world of garlic. Let's dive in!

A Whiff of History

Garlic's history is as rich as its flavor. Believed to have originated in Central Asia, garlic has been used for over 5,000 years in various culinary and medicinal applications. It was even used as currency in ancient Egypt! From warding off vampires to treating wounds in World War I, garlic has a fascinating tale to tell.

Varieties to Savor

Garlic comes in an array of varieties, each with its own unique taste and growing requirements. From the mild and nutty 'Softneck' garlic to the robust and spicy 'Hardneck' garlic, there's a type for every palate. The choice of variety can significantly impact the flavor of your dishes.

  1. Silverskin (Allium sativum var. sativum): Silverskin garlic is known for its mild flavor and excellent storage qualities. It's often used for making garlic braids.
  2. Artichoke (Allium sativum var. artichoke): This variety produces large, easy-to-peel cloves and has a balanced flavor. It's one of the most common types found in grocery store
  3. Inchelium Red: Inchelium Red is a mild-flavored softneck garlic with a slightly sweet taste. It's known for its large bulbs and is suitable for a wide range of culinary uses.
  4. California Early: As the name suggests, California Early garlic is one of the earliest to mature. It has a mild to medium flavor and stores well.
  5. Rocambole (Allium sativum var. ophioscorodon): Rocambole garlic varieties are known for their complex and rich flavors. They often have fewer cloves per bulb but are highly prized by garlic enthusiasts.
  6. Music: Music garlic is a popular hardneck variety known for its large, easy-to-peel cloves and a strong, robust flavor.
  7. Siberian: Siberian garlic is a cold-hardy variety with a mild, nutty flavor. It produces medium-sized bulbs with several cloves.
  8. Purple Stripe: This group includes several garlic varieties with purple-striped bulb wrappers. They have a strong and spicy flavor and are often favored by chefs.
  9. Porcelain: Porcelain garlic varieties are known for their large cloves and strong, robust flavor. They have a smooth, white skin and are excellent for roasting.
    1. Glazed Purple Stripe: These garlic varieties have beautiful purple stripes on their bulb wrappers and offer a complex, spicy flavor.

These are just a few examples of the common types of garlic, and there are many more regional and specialty varieties to explore. The choice of garlic variety can significantly impact the flavor of your dishes, so it's worth experimenting with different types to find your favorites.

Growing Garlic Hydroponically Indoors: A Step-by-Step Guide

Growing garlic hydroponically indoors is a rewarding endeavor that allows you to enjoy fresh cloves year-round. Start by selecting quality bulbs, and then follow our step-by-step guide to create the ideal hydroponic setup. Learn about the right growing medium, light requirements, and optimal temperatures to ensure a bountiful harvest.

Gather Supplies:

  • Hydroponic System: There are several hydroponic systems to choose from, such as Deep Water Culture (DWC), Nutrient Film Technique (NFT), or a simple drip system. For growing thyme, a Kratky-style DWC or a nutrient film technique setup would work well.
  • Growing Medium: Well-draining soil, potting mix, or hydroponic medium for the thyme to thrive.
  • Garlic Cloves
  • Grow lights
  • Watering Tools
  • Fertilizer: All-purpose or herb-specific fertilizer for healthy growth.

  • Planting Garlic:
  • If using cloves, sow them in the growing medium according to the package instructions. Gently press the cloves into the medium and cover lightly.
  • If using seedlings, carefully transplant them into the growing medium, ensuring their roots are securely placed.

Nutrient Solution:

Prepare the hydroponic nutrient solution as per the manufacturer's instructions. Garlic benefits from a balanced nutrient solution with appropriate levels of macronutrients and micronutrients.

pH and EC Levels:

Regularly monitor the pH and EC (electrical conductivity) levels of the nutrient solution. Thyme prefers a pH range of 6.0-7.0. Adjust the pH as needed to maintain this range.

Lighting: Garlic requires adequate light for healthy growth. If you're growing indoors, provide 12-16 hours of light per day using LED grow lights or other suitable indoor lighting options.

Maintain the System:

  • Monitor the water level in the reservoir and top it up when necessary.
  • Regularly check the nutrient solution's pH and EC levels, adjusting as needed.
  • Keep an eye on the garlic plants for signs of pests or diseases and take appropriate action if needed.
  • Trim and prune the garlic plants to encourage bushier growth and prevent overcrowding.

  • Harvesting: Garlic can be harvested once it reaches a sufficient size. You can also harvest the garlic sprigs.

Troubleshooting: If you encounter issues such as slow growth, yellowing leaves, or wilting, consider factors like nutrient imbalances, improper pH levels, or inadequate lighting.

Benefits Beyond the Bulb

Garlic isn't just about its delicious cloves; it has a range of other uses.

  • Explore its applications in homemade remedies, such as garlic oil for ear infections or garlic paste for skin ailments.
  • Discover its potential as a natural pesticide and even a companion plant in your garden.

Culinary Uses of Garlic

Garlic is a versatile and essential ingredient in many cuisines around the world. Its distinctive flavor and aroma can enhance a wide range of dishes. Here are some popular culinary uses of garlic:

  1. Sauteing: Garlic is often used as a flavor base in many savory dishes. Start by sautéing finely chopped or minced garlic in oil or butter until it becomes fragrant and slightly golden. This forms the foundation for various recipes.
  2. Roasting: Whole garlic bulbs can be roasted to develop a milder, sweeter flavor. Simply cut off the top of the bulb to expose the cloves, drizzle with olive oil, wrap in foil, and bake until the cloves become soft and caramelized.
  3. Mincing: Finely minced garlic adds intense flavor to dishes like pasta sauces, stir-fries, and dressings. You can use a garlic press or finely chop it by hand.
  4. Garlic Paste: Garlic paste is made by mashing garlic cloves into a smooth paste with a little salt. It's a common ingredient in Indian, Thai, and Middle Eastern cuisines and is used to add flavor to curries, marinades, and dips.
  5. Garlic Butter: Garlic butter is a delicious condiment used to flavor bread, seafood, steaks, and vegetables. It's made by mixing softened butter with minced garlic and optional herbs like parsley.
  6. Flavoring Soups and Stews: Garlic is a staple in soups, stews, and broths. It can be added whole, sliced, or minced, depending on the desired intensity of flavor.
  7. Pesto: Garlic plays a key role in traditional pesto recipes. Combine fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil in a food processor for a flavorful sauce to toss with pasta or spread on sandwiches.
  8. Marinades: Garlic is a key ingredient in marinades for meats, poultry, and seafood. It not only imparts flavor but also helps tenderize the proteins.
  9. Salad Dressings: Many salad dressings incorporate garlic for added depth of flavor. Combine minced garlic with olive oil, vinegar, and other seasonings to create a tasty vinaigrette.
    1. Garlic Bread: Garlic bread is a beloved side dish made by spreading a mixture of butter, minced garlic, and herbs on slices of bread, which are then toasted or baked until golden brown and aromatic.
    2. Sauces and Gravies: Garlic is a crucial component of classic sauces like Alfredo, marinara, and béarnaise, adding complexity and depth to the flavor profile.
    3. Stir-Fries: Garlic is a common ingredient in stir-fry dishes. Its quick cooking time ensures that it imparts a burst of flavor to the vegetables and proteins in the dish.
    4. Seasoning Meats: Rubbing minced garlic and herbs onto meat before grilling or roasting infuses it with flavor and helps create a tasty crust.Recipe by Monique from Ambitious Kitchen

Health Benefits of Garlic

Garlic, often referred to as the "stinking rose," is not only a delicious addition to countless dishes but also a nutritional powerhouse with numerous health benefits. Here are some of the key health benefits of garlic:

  1. Heart Health: Garlic is renowned for its ability to promote heart health. It can help lower blood pressure, reduce LDL cholesterol levels, and decrease the risk of heart disease. Allicin, a sulfur compound found in garlic, is believed to be responsible for these cardiovascular benefits.
  2. Antioxidant Properties: Garlic is rich in antioxidants, including vitamin C and selenium. These antioxidants help combat oxidative stress and reduce the risk of chronic diseases, including certain types of cancer.
  3. Immune System Support: Garlic has immune-boosting properties. Regular consumption may help the immune system function more effectively, reducing the risk of illnesses like the common cold.
  4. Anti-Inflammatory Effects: Chronic inflammation is linked to various health issues, including arthritis and heart disease. Garlic's compounds may have anti-inflammatory effects, potentially reducing the risk of these conditions.
  5. Cancer Prevention: Some studies suggest that garlic consumption may be associated with a lower risk of certain cancers, such as stomach and colorectal cancer. The antioxidants and sulfur compounds in garlic may play a role in cancer prevention.
  6. Antibacterial and Antiviral Properties: Garlic has natural antibacterial and antiviral properties. It has been used historically to treat infections and can help support the body's defense against pathogens.
  7. Improved Digestion: Garlic can aid in digestion by stimulating the production of digestive enzymes. It may also help alleviate mild digestive issues, such as bloating and gas.
  8. Detoxification: Garlic supports the body's natural detoxification processes, helping to eliminate harmful toxins and heavy metals.
  9. Blood Sugar Control: Some studies suggest that garlic may help regulate blood sugar levels in individuals with diabetes or insulin resistance, potentially reducing the risk of complications.
    1. Bone Health: Garlic contains nutrients like manganese and vitamin B6, which are important for maintaining healthy bones and may contribute to bone density.
    2. Asthma Management: Garlic's anti-inflammatory properties may help manage asthma symptoms by reducing airway inflammation.

It's important to note that while garlic offers many health benefits, it should be consumed as part of a balanced diet rather than as a standalone treatment for medical conditions. As with any dietary changes or supplements, it's a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional, especially if you have specific health concerns or are taking medications, to ensure that garlic is suitable for your individual needs.


In conclusion, garlic isn't just a seasoning; it's a culinary and medicinal powerhouse with a history as fascinating as its taste. Whether you're cultivating it hydroponically indoors or adding it to your favorite dishes, garlic's versatility and benefits make it a must-have herb in your kitchen and garden. So, let's celebrate this incredible herb and savor the delicious possibilities it brings to our lives. Garlic – truly a clove-rly delight!

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