oepri perennial leek and elephant garlic- difference?

merrybookwyrmJanuary 23, 2012

Are the Southern Exposure Seed Exchange 'perennial leek' and elephant garlic two different varieties of allium ampeloprasum? Do they taste different? And do these two taste different than the 'single clove garlic' variety that has been discussed here?

I'm confused! Thank you.

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Okay, I should have searched on perlzweible (sp) rather than oepri! This answered some questions!

    Bookmark   January 25, 2012 at 3:11PM
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I grow the perennial leeks from SESE and they grow very well. They act like a multiplier onion or chive in that they produce lots of small offsets. They bloom beautifully and profusely in the summer and are reliably perennial for me. The only problem I have with them is using them. They are far smaller than the leeks I see in stores and the tops are very tough. Mostly I use them when I make vegetable stocks. However, I'm glad to have them.

Elephant garlic grows like ordinary garlic. Plant a single clove in the fall and harvest multiple cloves in the early summer. It is very productive for me; it stores extremely well and imparts a mild garlic flavor to all dishes that call for garlic. One needs to let it cure for a month or two after harvest or it has a kind of bitter flavor.

I also saw your post about salad burnet on the Oklahoma Gardening forum. I have grown it in a container in an 8b/9a climate in south-central Texas and it stayed green all winter and went somewhat dormant in the summer. In the winter it had a nice mild cucumber flavor. Here in a colder part of Texas (Lubbock) it goes dormant in the winter and again in the hottest part of the summer. Also, it doesn't develop as delicate a flavor as it did in the winter downstate or maybe my tastes have changed in the last twenty years. I lost one plant to last winter's severe freeze and the other two in this past summer's extreme heat.
I don't intend on replanting it, although it is easy for me from seed.

Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2012 at 10:48PM
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Thank you, yes your post helps alot!

1. It's good to know you are glad to have the perennial leeks, and if you use them in stocks, then guess they must taste leeky rather than garlicky. Allium ampeloprasum seems to be variable and confusing. Maybe I can get some this year.

2. I didn't know about elephant garlic having a bitter taste until it cures, so that is valuable information. Seems like I end up pureeing or mincing the green leaves and rarely pulling the cloves, partly because they don't taste exactly like garlic and are somewhat bitter. :0)

3. Last, thank you for your salad burnet experience; I've grown it years now, and have to agree with much of your experience. I do keep it because in dfw it makes a mild leaf that can go in summer salads, even if it doesn't have much taste in the summer. And it's not gooey or green like malabar spinach!

Thank you for reminding me about Caprock skies. You make me homesick for visits to Lubbock. My grandparents lived out there, and we visited them a great deal. Wonder if the crabapple trees are still planted at Carillon/John Knox retirement center? They made really good jam!

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 11:22PM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

Just an FYI. I grow "Perlzweibel", and it is a different species (A. sphaerocephalum). It shares some of Elephant Garlic's vulnerability to winter kill here, but only in bad years. Too small to be useful to me, I just grow it for preservation.

I gave up on growing Elephant Garlic because of the high losses - I couldn't increase my stock. All was not lost, though... it freed up more space for garlic. ;-)

    Bookmark   January 28, 2012 at 12:21AM
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Thank you. From reading, I thought "Perlzweibel" would be bigger. Hm.

lol. The difference between zone 5 Wisconsin and zone 8 Texas! Winter kill hasn't been a problem here in the last years-- some of my elephant garlic has been growing in place for so long I'm thinking it -must- be dug up and moved this year to prevent soil diseases.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2012 at 1:38PM
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Zeedman--Thank you for the correct scientific name for this plant.

Merrybookwyrm--Yes, they taste like leeks and they are very small. I think Dixondale Farms sells transplants of true leeks. And, crabapples were very popular in the nursery trade in Lubbock from the 1950s to 1970s and there are still many beautiful specimens in older neighborhoods. Pleased you have good memories of this part of Texas.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2012 at 3:42PM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

"lol. The difference between zone 5 Wisconsin and zone 8 Texas! Winter kill hasn't been a problem here in the last years--"

Yeah, you probably have "Summer kill". ;-)

    Bookmark   January 30, 2012 at 12:16AM
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