How to Grow Wild Garlic in Spring - Sara at Skillnaden's
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How to Grow Wild Garlic in Spring

Wild garlic is a delicacy that's easy to grow at home. Did you know that you can grow wild garlic throughout the year, as long as the ground isn't frozen? Keep reading to learn more!

Grow wild garlic in spring


Wild garlic is one of the best and most eagerly awaited leafy greens of the spring season. I live in Sweden, where wild garlic grows everywhere in some parts of the country. Sadly, that's not the case where I'm located, an area called Småland in the south. That's why I grow wild garlic in my garden instead! The harvesting season is very short, just a few weeks in spring, but I cherish the opportunity to enjoy the fresh wild garlic in that short time. It's more than worth it!


Read more: Homemade wild garlic oil


How to grow wild garlic?

Wild garlic is very easy to grow - it grows where it thrives. It may seem self-explanatory, but I still want to explain. The wild garlic emerges early in spring, with its leaves rolled up lengthwise. They then unfold and form dense stands of leaves, buds start to grow, they bolt and then produce seeds. After that, the entire plant withers. All of this happens in quite a short time frame too, just a few weeks. The plant becomes basically invisible after that, and stays that way for most of the year.

If the conditions of the growing area are wrong, then the wild garlic disappears without a trace. The wild garlic won't grow many leaves, bolt or create seeds. But if you manage to grow wild garlic in conditions where it can thrive, then you get the complete opposite result! Large leaves from healthy and sturdy plants, tall flower stalks, lots of seeds and plenty of little bulbils. You feel euphoric growing it!


Grow wild garlic at home.

This is what the wild garlic bulbs look like, freshly dug up from the ground in November. Just to show you.


Read more: Grow wild garlic in pots


Plant wild garlic somewhere you don't mind it spreading. Ideally, try to pick a damp and shady spot. Remove some weeds so the wild garlic doesn't have to compete with any other plants in the first growth stages. If you grow wild garlic from bulbs, plant the bulbs in a cluster around four inches (10 centimeters) between the bulbs. The bulbs should be planted quite deeply, maybe 4-6 inches deep (around 10-15 cm).

I grow wild garlic right in my kitchen garden, in loose soil underneath a few currant bushes. The wild garlic absolutely thrives there! I also have a nice spot behind my root cellar, in full shade. These different spots produce wild garlic at slightly different paces, which means that the harvesting season gets just a little bit longer in my garden. Why not try doing the same and experiment with different growing conditions?

You can plant wild garlic bulbs throughout fall, winter, and spring as long as the ground isn't frozen. But if it is, you can always pre-cultivate your bulbs in pots and transplant them outside later.


Grow wild garlic from seed

It's widely known that it's tricky to grow wild garlic from seeds. The easiest way to do it is to take completely fresh seeds from your already existing plant and then direct-sow them. They germinate nicely and will most likely produce strong and healthy plants. Older seeds that have been dormant for a while can require a lot of patience because they need time to "wake up". These seeds take a lot longer to germinate.

The fastest way to get good plants is simply to buy seeds.


I grow wild garlic in my garden.

The first wild garlic of the spring season emerges near my currant bushes.


Cooking with wild garlic

The wild garlic leaves are incredibly versatile. Early in the season, there aren't that many options when it comes to fresh leaves. So, feasting on tender wild garlic leaves in March-April (I live in zone 3) is just fantastic. Did you know that you can eat the leaves, flower stalks, flower buds, flowers and even the immature seed capsules?

There are few limitations with wild garlic. Wild garlic can be used like any other onion the garden produces; it's just a matter of experimenting. The wild garlic adds a lovely flavor to meatballs, bolognese sauce, gratins, and anything else where we traditionally use regular yellow onions or leek. Remember that it can lose some flavor if we cook it for a long time, so try to avoid slow cooking it and add the wild garlic when the dish is almost done instead.

If you have a lot of wild garlic, it can be frozen, just like leek and plenty of herbs. Simply chop the leaves and freeze them fresh in a jar with a tight-fitting lid.


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Remember that it takes a few years for the wild garlic to establish properly in a new area. Just be patient and harvest conservatively, without overharvesting in the beginning. You will get more than enough in due time.

/Sara Bäckmo

18. March 2024