Garlic Plants

Garlic Bulb Formation

Anonymous added on July 8, 2011 | Answered

Much of my elephant garlic crop did not differentiate into cloves but formed round balls of garlic. Why did this happen? Are they still good to eat? If I plant these, will they make garlic with cloves? I planted in early Oct. in raised beds amended with composted stable waste (still lots of wood shavings) and about 10 lbs of bone meal per 3 x 50' bed. I used sets from garlic I saved and have grown for several seasons, but this is a new farm for me and the garlic.

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Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on July 9, 2011

While it is closer to a leek than a garlic, you plant and grow elephant garlic like regular garlic. Because of its size, spacing is different. Put the cloves 8-10 inches apart in rows 18-20 inches from each other. Set them 1-2 inches deep. Sometimes elephant garlic tends to produce only one large, solid bulb with no segments. If this occurs, replant and it will produce a bulb the next harvest with the more typical cloves. Many gardeners also cut the scapes (flower stems) so the plants can focus more energy on bulb production. Planting usually takes place in fall, about 4-6 weeks before the first hard freeze in order to establish roots but it can also be spring planted. Harvest the garlic by pulling or digging when the tops turn brown and die down in summer. Store in a cool, dry place to prevent sprouting.

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