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Elephant garlic


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  • Elephant garlic

    This is supposed to be elephant garlic, but looks more like the ‘little cloves’ that grow attached to a proper clove, is it even worth planting? Not what I was expecting

  • #2
    It looks like the small offsets that do grow around elephant garlics base. I never seem to have much joy propagating from these and have some in a pot of compost in the greenhouse at the moment. Planted about a month ago, I'll have to have a 'furtle' as nothing is showing above the compost.yet.
    My Majesty made for him a garden anew in order
    to present to him vegetables and all beautiful flowers.- Offerings of Thutmose III to Amon-Ra (1500 BCE)

    Diversify & prosper


    • #3
      How big are the cloves? I tried growing some once and they came as individual large cloves, but they weren't very successful. I stick to ordinary garlic now.


      • #4
        They're bulbils Dorothy. If they're planted straight away at time of harvest I find some will grow (possibly 50%) but if they're left to dry out and harden the germination rate seems to drop. If they do germinate they'll take a few years before making large bulbs that split into cloves.
        Location ... Nottingham


        • #5
          That’s the word! Exactly, I really don’t think I’ll bother!

          I’ll find another supplier I bought these online​​​​​, not had a problem before and have grown reasonably sized cloves, I suppose I should complain to the company


          • #6
            I tried some from a couple of cloves from a bought bulb.
            They take two years.
            Near Worksop on heavy clay soil


            • #7
              Thank you all, I’ve just looked at the site I bought them from, as usual nice pics of ‘proper elephant garlic cloves’, and kind of lost in the description it says they are ‘corms’! So probably partly my mistake!

              I’ll try again,


              • #8
                I've fancied trying these - on reading this I'll make sure I get proper sized cloves. A bit of a swiz that the seller didn't make this clear - who plants garlic and expects to wait two years to eat it?!
                Mostly flowers, some fruit and veg, at the seaside in Edinburgh.


                • #9
                  If those were described as "cloves" demand your money back, if it was on ebay lodge a "not as described" claim against the seller.
                  Those are bulbils and require time consuming and difficult treatment to even grow and it will be at least 3 years before you get anything even resembling a decent crop.
                  (I've just realised I've been growing elephant for over 30 years! getting old)
                  I sold elephant garlic on ebay for about 8 years and put bulbils on sale for about £3 per hundred with free postage just to try and stop the con artists selling bulbils as elephant garlic "seeds", "corms", "slips", etc. and charging stupid prices. I now dump them in the council green waste skip as they are just not worth the bother.

                  This is my old ebay description for bulbils:

                  These are a zygotic form of Elephant Garlic and are found growing around the main bulbs. We had not offered these for sale before because we had not found how to get a decent germination rate, despite following the advice of several "experts". If planted as is these bulbils may take anything up to 5 or more years to actually grow - if at all. The problem is the casing which is about the hardest non-wooden vegetable matter we have come across, by the time it degrades the little garlic bulblet inside has often expired!

                  Our method is to carefully remove the casing, without damaging the contents. We find large nail-clippers are ideal to cut off the pointed end and carefully dissemble to free the small bulblet, which looks like a very small silverskin onion. Once the bulblet is free plant immediately about 1.5" deep and about 4" apart in well drained, fertile soil. Full sun is preferable. By about March these will begin to produce leaves like a small leek, and when they turn yellow in July/August lift them carefully (damaged ones should be used in the kitchen immediately as they WILL rot) and allow to dry in full sun - do not wash them. These are first year rounds. You may find some have developed small bulbils which can be replanted using the above method. Replant the rounds early September at about 3" deep and 9" spacing to produce larger rounds/small cloved bulbs the following season. The larger rounds will need to be replanted again, but these should then produce cloved bulbs in the 3rd year. At each stage more bulbils will be produced which can be replanted as above.

                  Elephant garlic is my favourite garden product - so versatile and will go with virtually anything.

                  Some of my favourite uses.

                  Open roasted, drizzled with olive oil, flavour intensifies (becomes bitter) if allowed to over caramelise.
                  Deep fried whole cloves in batter - much better than onion rings!
                  Slice (1-2 mm) onto pizza or anything being open roasted and brush over with olive oil.
                  Shave into mixed salad.
                  Pickled - use small cloves. And use the vinegar afterwards on chips - GOURMET FOOD!!!
                  Lightly roast (until soft) and mash with potato, swede or other veg.
                  Add small chunks to curries - particularly good in vindaloo instead of potato.
                  Family motto "semper in excretum"


                  • #10
                    Instead of harvesting the bulbs they can also be used for cut and come again greens. When grown to finger thickness the stems can be cut off at ground level and used like a garlicky leek in risotto etc. Most plants will yield about three cuttings per season and the bulb is then left in situ to grow again as a perennial.
                    This is what I do with bulbils, pop them into a corner where they can be left undisturbed and any that make sufficient growth are used for greens - bonus crop
                    Location ... Nottingham


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