You can use grocery store garlic, but like with a lot of things, the ones you get from the feed store are usually better adapted and are meant for planting. You don't need to wait for it to sprout, just plant the cloves individually.
You'll just have to watch them. If they get big and send up a stem (called a "scape") with a flower on top then you'll have a harvest this year. Garlic is generally planted in the fall for a spring or summer crop.
Generally I don't let the flower open, I knock over the scape and let the entire plant above ground dry up, then dig up the bulbs. (Don't pull or you might leave the garlic behind underground. Dig carefully so you don't cut up the cloves with your shovel.) Yours may just stay in the ground this year and not do much, in which case, you'll get a crop next year. Or it could produce a crop this year.
Don't forget where you planted them so if you have to wait a while you won't accidentally disturb them until they mature.
Thanks for the responses! The garlic shoots were only about 4-5 inches tall when I got them, so I would guess the plants were not very mature and were not started long before. Maybe I'll have a pleasant surprise with them, if not, I don't mind seeing things grow, regardless.
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