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ELEPHANT GARLIC SETS (CLOVES) – Allium ampeloprasum var. ampelosum
FULL SUN Probably native to western or central Asia, Elephant Garlic has been cultivated for centuries. Elephant Garlic is a leek which grows like a garlic bulb with a mildly garlic fragrance and flavor. The bulbs which usually consist of 3-4 giant cloves are 2-3x the size of an average garlic bulb.
Elephant Garlic may be planted in the fall or the spring similar to garlic. Fall plantings will mature earlier. Elephant Garlic plants are hardy and can withstand temperatures as low as 20 degrees fahrenheit so spring plantings may be made as soon as the soil can be worked.
Turn the soil and add some lime before planting. Plant the sets, root end down, 3-4 inches deep. Leave 6 inches between bulbs in rows 18 inches apart. Apply a nitrogen and phosphorus rich fertilizer (10-20-10) and water like any garden green.
Elephant Garlic will be ready to harvest in approximately 180 days when the leaf tops have begun to brown. Cure Elephant Garlic by placing them in a warm, well-ventilated area until the necks are thoroughly dry. Curing must take place for the Elephant Garlic to be stored for any length of time. With warm temperatures, good air circulation and low humidity, curing should be completed within two weeks after harvest.
|Type||Spacing||Planting Depth||Days to Germination||Maturity|
|Elephant Garlic||6 in.||3-4 in.||14-21+||180|
Garlic, which is a member of the same group of plants as the onion, has been cultivated for millennia. As a cultivated plant, it is so old that it is difficult to credit a country of origin for this vegetable. Some historians believe that the onion was indigenous to the southwest of Siberia and spread to southern Europe where it became naturalized. It is widely grown in all the Mediterranean countries. All modern garlic belongs to one of two subspecies: hardneck (ophioscorodon) or softneck (sativum). Hardneck subspecies try to produce flower stalks with small aerial cloves called bulbils. Hardnecks will not produce large bulbs underground unless the flower stalks are removed. There are three varieties of hardneck garlic: Purple Striped, Porcelain and Rocambole. Softnecks have lost the ability, for the most part, to produce a flower stalk. However, under certain climatic situations, the bulbs may try to produce a flower stalk known as bolting. There are three varieties of softneck garlic: Artichoke, Silverskin and Creole. Elephant garlic is not a true garlic. It is a leek that produces very large cloves, 3-4 per bulb. When allowed to, it produces a large seedstalk that can be sold to florists. The tender, fleshy lower portion of the seedstalk is prized for Oriental dishes. The cloves of the elephant garlic are very mild when compared to real garlic. The vegetable, when baked, makes an excellent side dish.
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