HOUSTON – If you’re looking for what to plant in your backyard when the cooler temperatures arrive, garlic should be on the top of your list.
Garlic is not only one of the best things to grow here in the Bayou City, but it also grows best in cool winters and frost-hardy.
Jen McDonald, garden designer, and consultant for Garden Girls shared her easy tips to get you started.
To watch McDonald’s complete interview, watch the video above.
“The prep is the biggest part. You can buy organic garlic bulbs from Whole Foods, Central Market, or your local Farmer’s Market. Then put it in the fridge for a month so that it becomes dormant. Garlic needs this cold snap, which is called vernalization. In northern climates, winter does this naturally. Here, we need to create winter,” said McDonald, who expressed that the ideal planting time is mid-late October through mid-November.
“When you are ready to plant, remove the outer layer of paper only. Separate the individual cloves for planting. and don’t remove the paper coating from your bulbs,” said McDonald, who recently impressed Marta Stewart on her Discovery+ show “Martha Gets Down and Dirty.”
The certified organic garden vegetable specialist also explained that one bulb will produce around 8 individual cloves.
“You can grow garlic in a container or raised bed in loose, sandy loam soil. Container depth should be at least 8 inches. To plant, keep the paper on each clove. Stick the root end down, tip-up, and bury it 4-6 inches deep. Space each clove 4 inches apart. Make sure that the tip is buried. The cloves will stay dormant for about two weeks before sprouting in temperatures no hotter than 85 degrees,” she said.
Garlic needs 6 hours of sun each day and it takes 9 months to grow.
“When the tops become partly dry and bend to the ground, garlic is usually ready for harvest. After that, stop watering. Garlic is left in the garden or a well-ventilated shed for a week to dry thoroughly. The bulbs must be thoroughly dried before being stored,” said McDonald.
To book your consult with McDonald, click here.