How is your Elephant Garlic growing?

Posted: May 11, 2016

My Elephant Garlic

I had never grown elephant garlic before, but there were some leftover seed garlic after last year’s Sow True Seed garlic festival in September and I got a few.

Subjecting them to my usual “Xtreme gardening” measures, I shoved each seed clove into a patch of the sorriest soil that’s still in my garden: dry and pretty dense with high clay content. Nonetheless, they started growing right away and made it through the winter without much in the way of mulch protection.

Giant Elephant Garlic Stalks produce massive garlic bulbsResults are in, and as of May 1 they are the biggest, baddest garlic I have ever grown. The biggest one is nearly the thickness of a soda can, and it still has a few months to grow before harvest. I see a blue ribbon for this one at the Mountain State Fair next August. They seem tremendously happy, especially since I have been able to add some soil nutrients and compost for better drainage.

After digging them in July it will be necessary for me to “cure” the stalks and bulbs by air drying them in the shade for some weeks. That helps avoid spoilage when garlic stalks are stored.

If you want to try elephant garlic or any other type, order seed garlic ahead of time for seasonal delivery in the fall. Plan to plant around late October or November. Technically elephant garlic is a kind of leek but it is treated just as other garlic.

Elephant Garlic is actually a bulbing leek but grows like true garlicStay tuned for a later blog post  about dehydrating garlic to make garlic powder and garlic salt. I’m looking at a mammoth garlic harvest this year, so am going to branch out into new methods of preserving it.

Written by Sow True Garden Ambassador, Nan Chase

Our Garden Ambassador Program is a network of talented gardeners, writers and photographers. The Garden Ambassadors are here to help you learn and grow from real garden experiences. You can read more blog posts from Nan Chase HERE.

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Nan Chase

NC Garden Ambassador at Sow True Seed
Writer Nan K. Chase has written about topics as diverse as the history of Islam and the history of the mini-skirt, about beauty pageants and about nuclear energy. An award-winning investigative journalist, she has written for The New York Times, Washington Post, Air & Space, Southern Living, and many other publications. A long-time gardener, Nan lives in the mountains of western North Carolina.

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3 responses to “How is your Elephant Garlic growing?”

  1. Nanc says:

    I just planted mine in May in the NW, hope that was an ok thing to do! Anyone??

    • Sow True Seed says:

      Hi Nan, I would advise contacting your local Cooperative Extension Agent for regional advise. In terms of general growing conditions. They like to be planted when the weather is cooling so they can go through a cold period before bulbing up as it warms.

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