Elephant Garlic Curiosities

SequoiaMatt99July 24, 2014

Last spring, I planted a few elephant garlics. They never sprouted last year, probably because it didn't get cold enough, and I forgot about them. This year, however, they sprouted in the spring, and are now about ready. Well, one had its stem break over (not sure why) but I harvested it maybe a week early. There is one onion-like bulb and a few small clove-like growths that grew around it, but are in no way surrounded by a common paper wrapper. Will these grow if I plant them this fall?
I've heard elephant garlic sometimes forms onion like bulbs rather than cloves, but this seems rather odd. Any opinions are welcome.

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theforgottenone1013(MI zone 5b/6a)

Only thing I find odd is that it took a year for them to grow. The "onion like bulb" is called a round. Not uncommon. And the little things around the bulb are corms. They are very common. I planted some corms last Fall but they rotted. If you give them a gentle whack they are easy to peel and use in cooking.


    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 1:14PM
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Like Rodney says, what you got is pretty normal.

Only I would plant the offsets back now and give them a chance to sprout out and establish themselves between now and killing frost. They should still be hardy enough to winter over for you. I did that with some offseason offsets I got of sand leek and had most of them sprout and then return this spring, and had one of them even bolt and set a headful of bulbils this year.

I had the same problem with elephant garlic not sprouting the first spring, myself, when fallplanted, but those were grocery store cloves and may have been treated against sprouting. I did get some spring planted ones to come up this year. Those I intend to move this week.

I expect to find a single relatively large round and the offsets below each of mine much like you found with yours.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 10:05PM
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Thanks. I'll try to plant them, and hope for the best.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 11:01AM
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If you plant the "round" in the fall, maybe September or early October, those will make the very best full heads of garlic at harvest. Those are the ones I count on for my very best for eating.

The corms can definitely be planted. I usually collect up all of them at harvest, then when ready, about now is good, I'll make a shallow trench and sprinkle them down the line maybe an inch or two apart. A good number of these will sprout, making decent rounds by harvest next spring. Another thing I've done is plant them densely in a pot buried in the garden, since not all of the corms may sprout the first year, but sometimes more will sprout the next year. I was getting frustrated having more sprout in future years when I had moved my garlic beds to a new location. When I was planting them loose, I was moving a lot of young sprouts to new locations every year.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 3:11PM
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