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what happen to my elephant garlic?

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what happen to my elephant garlic?

Post  FamilyGardening on 8/30/2011, 12:07 am

i decided to pull up a few of my elephant garlic today to use in canning some pickles and peppers...yum....well....they look like a onion :scratch: they smelled like garlic....yet they didnt have any cloves....they looked to be in good condition so i used them in my reciepe.....the two on the left are peeled.....

i also found a few small what looked to be like tiny cloves attached to the large *ball looking* garlic....they were hard and dry....any thoughts?

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Re: what happen to my elephant garlic?

Post  Nonna.PapaVino on 8/30/2011, 12:22 am

Elephant "garlic" is not a true garlic, it is more closely related to leeks than garlic. A true garlic does not form flowers or seeds. Some types called hardneck garlics do send up scapes which look like the garlic is trying to flower; but what forms at the top of the scape is a collection of tiny bulbs (bulbils) which can, and do, drop to the ground and sprout into infant garlic bulbs. After a year or two, these new plants form heads and become a mature garlic. Elephant garlic, however, sends up a real flowering stalk with elegant lavender flowering balls measuring up to 6 inches in diameter. Being a very clever plant, though, it hedges its bets with the small, hard chunks of genetic material you show in your second picture. Planted on their own, they will mimic the true garlic's bulbils and will form a new elephant garlic bulb identical to its parent (no cross-pollination needed).



Now, if you want your elephant garlic to form big heads of "cloves", plant the largest of your balls back into a square for the upcoming year. With adequate compost and some bone meal, next year you'll be harvesting a head of elephant garlic worthy of the nearest county fair. Enjoy! Nonna

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Re: what happen to my elephant garlic?

Post  FamilyGardening on 8/30/2011, 12:41 am

thanks Nonna!

a couple of questions....LOL...i know...im always full of them...hee hee hee

when you say plant them back into the ground....do you mean the little tiny hard dry things that were attached to the *ball looking* garlic?

do you think it was ok for me to use the elephant garlic in my canning of pickles and peppers today?...instead of using *real* garlic?....who would have known that elephant garlic is not true garlic....Shocked...i thought it was just a milder form of garlic...

hugs

rose
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Re: what happen to my elephant garlic?

Post  FamilyGardening on 8/30/2011, 12:44 am

oh...forgot to say....the elephant garlic is starting to turn yellow and kinda die down like an onion does....it hasnt sent up a flower....i have three more still in the ground....do you think i should just leave them and see if they send up a flower?....or do they look spent to you?

thanks again

rose
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Re: what happen to my elephant garlic?

Post  Nonna.PapaVino on 8/30/2011, 10:52 am

FamilyGardening, The elephant garlics I left alone in order to get their great flowers have all done their thing. Usually, they flower in early June. I don't know about using e-garlic in pickles, having never considered doing so. Don't think they'd contribute much flavor, as they are so mild. Having said that, they are a great addition to soups, stews, gumbos, and (my latest) ratatouille. Just not for flavor, but for adding a new-potato-like texture, and mellowness. Sure, just put the little hard e-garlics back into a prepared bed and let them germinate into small bulbs. It'll take a couple of years before they are big enough to wow you, but it'll be a great experiment. When I mentioned planting the balls, I meant the round, unsegmented e-garlic heads in your photo, they're the ones that will fill out and form segments by next year.



For garlic flavor, I prefer the hardneck types like: Spanish Roja (a rocambole), Brown Tempest (Marble Purple Stripe group), Chesnok Red (Purple Stripe group); besides, we like to eat the scapes they send up in the spring, harvesting them while still tender (trim, steam, and serve with brown butter sauce, or add to an early summer stir fry). You want to cut garlic scapes off the plant to channel its energy into bulb formation instead of bulblet production. There's definitely a reason to plant both garlic and elephant garlic. If you don't have space in your SFG, plant the e-garlics in the flower bed for both the beautiful flower and bulbs: edible landscaping! Nonna

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Re: what happen to my elephant garlic?

Post  FamilyGardening on 8/30/2011, 11:12 am

thanks again Nonna Very Happy

we have three more still growing in with our roses Very Happy we planted them there to help with aphids Very Happy

do you think if we pull them up I can replant them in our SFG?....do we trim off the dieing greens?....we will also find a place to plant the little hard ones too....we love to try new things in the gardens Very Happy....looking forward to seeing them flower Very Happy we love garlic....this time around im going to plant some reg garlic in the fall too!

thank you so much.....im so thankful to have found you all....we have been learning so much!

hugs

rose
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Re: what happen to my elephant garlic?

Post  Nonna.PapaVino on 8/30/2011, 12:31 pm

Yes, Rose, after the leaves have mostly died back, dig your elephant garlic bulbs, trim off the stem/foliage and replant where wanted. If the ones planted with your roses have not bloomed, scratch in a bit of bone meal around them and leave them in place to get bigger and send up a bloom stalk. One year I was so delighted with the blooms, I cut a bouquet of them and proudly brought it into the house........but the garlic scent, dictated removal to outside display. Rolling Eyes

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Re: what happen to my elephant garlic?

Post  westie42 on 8/31/2011, 12:39 pm

That is most interesting my E garlic has never flowered or any others I have ever
noticed. Guess you mean it flowers like the giant alluim’s do. I probably will quit growing E garlic as it is so weak flavored I call it sissy garlic. I just got the book “The Complete Book of Garlic” by Ted J Meredith from a library and was so impressed That I bought it later while at The Seed Savers Exchange farmstead near me. Walmart Books also sells it a bit cheaper but was glad to support SSE with those few extra bucks. From that book I learned that hardnecks produce both flower buds and bulbils in the scapes and those other weird lumps some found in the necks will or can become seeds that are produced under stress to the plant as a third reproductive method used by the plant for mere survival. That book is a wealth of great pictures, descriptions and information covering many aspects of garlic culture. If a library does not have it they can find it thru inter library loan programs.

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Re: what happen to my elephant garlic?

Post  Nonna.PapaVino on 8/31/2011, 5:01 pm

Westie, thanks for the info on the book...looks like something I'd like to have in our home library. I shall look for it at Powell's Books. Nonna

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