Garden Lifestyle

Cheap and Easy Winter Greens

Grow your own garlic greens during the winter for an inexpensive way to get fresh flavor for cooking

A little pot of garlic greens is a sure way to warm a gardener’s heart in winter.
Photo/Illustration: Jodi Torpey

A gardener’s long wait for spring goes a lot faster if there’s some planting and harvesting to pass the time. One of the easiest (and cheapest) ways to feed the need to sow and grow is planting a small pot of garlic for growing greens.

Garlic cloves planted in this way won’t produce garlic heads, but they will send up tasty greens that can be snipped and used in all kinds of recipes. One of the nice things about this kind of windowsill gardening is that it’s a frugal way to add flavor to wintertime cooking.

Getting started

For a container of garlic greens you’ll need eight to 10 small garlic cloves, a small pot or other container with drainage holes, a saucer, and potting soil.

For my garlic greens, I broke apart a head of homegrown garlic because the cloves were too small to peel. If you don’t have any leftover garlic, just buy a head of garlic at the grocery store.

Fill the pot almost to the top of the container with potting soil. Separate the head of garlic into individual cloves, but leave the peel on.

Place each clove in the soil, root end down, planting cloves close together. Gently water to make sure the soil is moist. Place the pot and saucer on a sunny windowsill. Keep the soil moist, but don’t let the pot stand in water.

After about a week, little green shoots will start to appear. Wait until the greens are about 6 to 8 inches tall before harvesting with scissors. Expect a few cuttings before the cloves stop producing.

If you’re enjoying the process and want a continuous harvest, plant another pot of garlic before the first bunch starts winding down.

Snip and serve

Garlic greens add a garlicky touch when sprinkled on salads, added to stir-fry dishes, or used to top baked potatoes. This recipe for herb butter has many uses—from being slathered on warm, crusty rolls to making scrambled eggs. Herb butter can also be frozen for later use.

Herb Butter with Garlic Greens

1 large minced garlic clove
1 stick softened butter
2 to 3 tablespoons minced garlic greens
Pinch salt

  1. Mix minced garlic clove and minced garlic greens with softened butter in a small bowl.
  2. Add salt to taste.
  3. Let mixture stand for several hours to let flavors mingle before serving or freezing.
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