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Elephant Garlic

August 14th, 2014

Last week I harvested my elephant garlic. The regular garlic was harvested about a month ago and is curing in the top of the garage. This garlic is much larger and takes longer to reach maturity. Last fall I planted three cloves, which was all I received in my order from Each of these produced 7-9 cloves and now I have lots more to plant this fall.  I may eat a few, but I might forgo eating them to expand my collection.
elephant garlic 1
Elephant garlic isn’t technically garlic, at least not the same as what we think of as garlic. It’s a variety of the common leek that forms bulbs, much like the perennial leeks that I grow. It produced the most beautiful flowers, purple spheres that tower above all the other plants. I forgot to take a photo of them in the garden, so you’ll have to imagine what they look like standing 4 feet tall.
elephant garlic 2
This is a great alternative to the giant alliums that are grown for their flowers, mostly because they are much cheaper. Bulbs for giant alliums can be $25 for three bulbs and they don’t always come back each year. Elephant garlic is especially nice since it multiplies readily, making it easy to amass quite a number of them in a few short years. If you live in one of the states where decorative allium bulbs cannot be sold, you can grow these beauties in their place. While the flowers aren’t quite as big or as showy as the alliums, they give the same effect in the garden.

Do you have any edible alternatives to ornamental varieties to recommend? 

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.