Elephant Garlic

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by Unregistered-1427815803, Jun 20, 2004.

  1. Just harvested my elephant garlic (Allium ampeloprasum L. (Great-headed garlic group)) and thought I would pass along a little tip that I have used for the past year.

    Last year I learned that you can get the “corms” (the tough small little nutlike bulblets or bulbils that grow up around the main bulb) to grow if you soak them for 24hrs before planting, though the information stated that you would only get a 40-50% of them to grow and then only into “roundos” (a solid or noncloving bulb that will clove the next year). I decided to try it this spring and I got about 50% of my corms to grow.

    So, with the just harvested elephant garlic, I decided to replant the just harvested corms, without waiting for the corms to dry out and then replant in the coming spring, and see if I can get a better germination rate than I got with soaking and replanting of the dried out corms.

    Will I have a better % of growth this way, hope so, but won’t know for awhile.

    So has anyone else tried either of these techniques and what were your results?
     
  2. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    What you learned was somewhat correct. However, it's not a garlic but rather a leek. Also, elephant garlic does have bulblets but not bulbils. Bulbils are the small topset bulbs formed in place of seeds on hardneck (rocambole) garlic. Common leeks will also often produce bulblets, in addition to normal seeds, in their second year.

    Planting the elephant garlic bulblets back right away is OK. In parts of the South, that plant may become a weed from such rapid multiplying by both bulblets and seed. Both would quite probably remain dormant until either cool weather in the fall or the following spring. In the Northern zones, bulblet survival is very poor unless deeply mulched. That's why they are often dried and saved for spring planting. Either way, it still takes two growing seasons before the plant is large enough to produce a divided bulb when started from a bulblet.

    Martin
     

  3. Martin,

    Could you expand on your statement "Planting the elephant garlic bulblets back right away is OK. In parts of the South, that plant may become a weed from such rapid multiplying by both bulblets and seed."

    Is there a chance that my elephant garlic will grow so fast as to not bulb, is that what you are saying?

    I know that last year I left a couple in the ground past harvest time, the bulbs split and the corms started to send up shoots along side the parent bulbs, so based on this I did the instant replanting, trying to preserve the small connection from the corms to the roots on about half of the corms and not on the other half, to see if there is any diff here.
     
  4. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    Joined:
    May 9, 2002
    Location:
    South Central Wisconsin
    Planting it back right away is the same as leaving it there in the first place. In other words, it does not have to be cured or dried first. But if they are not dug up and given their own space to grow, you will end up with a cluster of tops and only small undivided bulbs. Where there is little or no winter dormancy periods, those small bulblets or corms quickly grow into new plants. The original plant dies and each clove comes back as a single plant to make the colony even more crowded. Given time, they will take over a large area by sowing seed as well. Then there may not be a divided bulb in an acre of them! There will be nothing but small rounds. Then the plants grow as an ordinary leek plant. That's why minimum spacing between elephant garlic is 8". If planted too close, all you get is rounds and bulblets.

    Martin
     
  5. Thanks so much Martin,

    There is little to nothing on the web about growing elephant garlic. It certainly goes along with what I saw last year, and as I have already decided to let 4 plants just goes and see what happens this year, given that I could not find info. on what this would produce, now, at least I will have an idea or gauge whith which to reference/evaluate what I observe.