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Elephant garlic newbie

Posted by myyellowstang 8 TX (My Page) on
Sat, Jun 3, 06 at 20:36

Someone gave me some bulbs last year and said it was society garlic. I planted it around my roses. Well.... it grew huge and I quickly found out it was elephant garlic.

Today the tops were browning so I decided to harvest it. It was a little harder to pull than I thought it would be and all the tops broke off at the bulb.

I was reading how to dry and preserve the bulbs and it says to leave the tops on. Now what do I do with it? I only have 5 bulbs so I don't need it to last for a very long time...

And I plan on using one bulb to plant... can I break it apart and plant it now... what do I do?

And those things that grow off the bulbs? What can I do with those? Some I left in the holes, some I have in a pile in the kitchen.

I am so new to this!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Elephant garlic newbie

Generally you just leave the garlic outside where it is dry for several days. The idea is to get several layers of the outer skin dry.

After this you can store them in a cool, dark place, but not the fridge if you want them to last until replanting.

I hang mine in a mesh bag in the basement.

I don't know when to plant garlic in your zone. I usually store mine for ~ 3 months or so before I plant them again in the fall.

Not sure what you mean by the things that grow off the bulbs. Only thing I can think of are roots, but that's probably not what you meant.


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RE: Elephant garlic newbie

They are like tiny cloves, kinda yellow and very hard. They came up with the garlic.

So I can just lay them outside just as they are? I washed all the dirt off and trimmed the roots.

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RE: Elephant garlic newbie

ah, OK, silly me. These are babies. You can eat them or plant them. If you plant them they take 2 years to make cloves. Year one they make a single head and year 2 it divides into cloves.

Yes, you can take what you have and leave it to dry awhile.

You will need to find out when the planting time is in your area and return the cloves you wish to the garden at that time. I suspect you may have issues storing it long enough in Texas, but I don't know. The good news is you can buy elephant garlic at the grocery and plant it so you don't need to spend an arm and a leg for 'seed garlic' from a specialty store.

Also, while I haven't done it, some leave the elephant garlic in the ground permanently and just harvest what they want, when they want. I understand it multiplies quickly, but again, haven't tried this myself.


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RE: Elephant garlic newbie

Okay. I left some of the babies in the ground where they were and kept some to plant somewhere else. I made some squash with this garlic last night and oh my gosh it was so good. I definately want some more.

If some people leave it in the ground year round is it possible to take some cloves and plant them now? I haven't seen it in grocery stores, not yet... but there are several I haven't been in.

Thank you for the helpful information! I'm so hooked on growing this now, and all from someone else's mistake!


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RE: Elephant garlic newbie

Sure, why not put a few in the ground now and see what happens. I haven't done this so I am not telling you to expect good or bad results, but I mean, why not give it a go?


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RE: Elephant garlic newbie

They'll get much larger. What you show there are what I call Yearlings. That's when they are still round, and don't yet have bumpy well differentiated cloves. Yearlings often also produce the hard seed, so it is worth digging them after tops die back, to separate & replant seed for more.

Enjoy your harvest - as long as you dig, separate & replant, you'll have more every year, and soon, plenty of seed to share!


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RE: Elephant garlic newbie

They get bigger?


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RE: Elephant garlic newbie

Not the babies, yellowstang, the actual elephant garlic.

Under ideal conditions the bulb size can be baseball or fist sized.

If you didn't end up with that size don't sweat it. Over time as the garden is amended with organic matter and loosens up and fertility increases the bulbs get bigger.

While I am not sure how true this is, it is said that if you save alliums from year to year and plant in the same spot they get better each year as each generation evolves a bit to do well in the soil their 'parents' were raised in.


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RE: Elephant garlic newbie

Thanks guys for all the information! I am definately hooked.


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RE: Elephant garlic newbie

  • Posted by coho z8/9 N. Calif (My Page) on
    Sat, Jun 10, 06 at 1:36

Lets see, the hard yellow hangers ons are called bubils. Here they seem to sprout better if left in the ground or replanted immediately at the depth they were found.
Most of us call the round bulbs, (no divided cloves)Rounds. If replanted in the fall, they make the larger bulbs in the spring.
When to dig? Here they will send up the scapes and then the leaves turn to a streaky yellowish color. the botton leaf will dry up. When all but 4 or 5 leaves are completly dry, dig. you can tie them in bunches of 6 to 8 or more if small. and hang in an airy place where they will not get wet. When the folage is fully dry, 2 weeks? cut off tops 1" above bulbs and roots about 1/4" or so long. store in cool dark place in mesh bag.
If you don't dig and replant, the bulbs and cloves will get smaller and smaller each season. Some one planted a whole garlic head at my neighbors last fall, maby as a joke. Any way there are 5 stalks, two scapes. Both scapes and stalks are quite small compared to the elephants I planted as cloves and rounds.
It is my understanding that elephant garlic grows wild frequent in the south around old home sites. Bulbs are quite small but if dug, seperated and cared for, they will quickly regain a nice size.


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RE: Elephant garlic newbie

I cant get regular garlic to grow for the life of me in this climate but Elephant Garlic sometimes gets much bigger than a baseball for me. I love them.

Plant each clove in the fall.


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RE: Elephant garlic newbie

I took my crop of Elephant garlic last year and planted them as soon as I harvested (put them around new fruit trees, my one rose bush and 4 ailing pecan trees). They came up later in the fall. They all came up and produced so I plan to do the same again.

We also used some of the garlic last year for bug spray... blended 2 hot peppers and garlic in enough water to blend. Strain into a gallon jug and fill with water. We use this in a spray bottle to kill aphids, etc. Do not store with a screw on cap and don't get it in your eyes!


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RE: Elephant garlic newbie

We have always dug our elephant garlic with a potato fork. You shouldn't have a problem storing them till planting time. Elephant garlic can store up to a year even with the paper off and the cloves seperated from the stalk (I have done this). As for the green tops being off that is fine! We cut ours off the stalks imediately after harvest. Letting them cure afew days in the Texas sun would not be a good idea as it is not here in NC either! They need to be in a total shady & dry spot if kept outside and where the air curculation is good. Ours cure in an air conditioned curing shed (because of our high humidity).

Each year we plant any rounds(solids) the size of a golf ball or bigger , these produce nice large heads . Here in the south the elephant garlic can be much bigger than softballs and one can weigh over a pound.

I would wait till fall to replant.
This year we planted 150 lbs of elephant here is pictures of the harvest of the section where we planted the rounds .
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

We had spme really big ones this year haven't weighed them yet but expect some to be a pound this was a good year for them.
The Garlic Lady


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RE: Elephant garlic newbie

Does anyone know where I could get some elephant garlic cloves to try? Outside of gurneys etc.


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RE: Elephant garlic newbie

You might want to look at the grocery store for Elephant Garlic to plant. If your regular store doesn't carry it, try a "gourmet" or specialty store--co-ops, whole food-type places or fancy-schmancy groceries might have some.


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RE: Elephant garlic newbie

Hi there,

I'm trying to work out when to harvest my crop. It is early summer here. They've been in for about five months, and look like they're about to flower - do I pull them before they flower, or wait until after and when the tops have browned?


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RE: Elephant garlic newbie

Hey, An Elephant Garlic Newbie is exactly what I am! I'm also trying to figure out when to harvest. I planted huge cloves last fall and they came up over the winter and are about to flower. Do I leave the flower stalk on or cut it off? Do I harvest now or sometime later (summer?).


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RE: Elephant garlic newbie

Garlic matures at different rates depending on many things like variety, locale, weather and other variables. There is no hard date. Much of mine in zone 5b matures in early July; last year, however, it was all done by the end of June.

Watch the leaves and when only a few are still green dig up one or two and inspect them. Garlic will get bigger up to a certain point, then the cloves start to separate as the head starts to prepare to launch all new heads with each clove. They need room. Garlic that is starting to separate is still good, but it won't store as well. So, get it at the exact time the head is at max size but before it starts to separate. Easy, no? Seriously, watch it, test it, then harvest. You'll start to get a sense in no time.


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