What is Elephant Garlic?
Unlike the traditional garlic varieties, Elephant garlic is actually more related to a leek that has the look, taste, and easy to grow like garlic. Elephant garlic gets its name due to the large size it obtains that is twice the size of regular garlic. Containing a hardy bulb the elephant garlic typically has 5 to 6 individual large cloves that grow up to around 3 feet from bulb to the tip of the garlic. These individual cloves can be used to replant elephant garlic in the next growing season. When growing elephant garlic it is a heavy feeder crop much like carrots or cabbage that needs plenty of water and nutrients for sufficient growth in the vegetable garden. Once elephant garlic leaves start turning a yellowish or brown color they are ready for harvest. To store elephant garlic they should be placed underneath a cool and shaded area that provides plenty of aeration. These crops can store for up to 8 to 10 months in well prepared storing conditions. If you have not tried growing elephant garlic we recommend trying it out in the vegetable garden especially in you live in the deep south and have experienced no luck growing traditional garlic varieties.
Replanting Elephant Garlic
On this week’s episode, Travis identifies tricks to save your elephant garlic to plant year after year. Due to our weather conditions in the deep South, we have a hard time growing traditional garlic such as the soft neck or hard neck varieties. So instead of the traditional garlic varieties, we stick to growing elephant garlic because it does well here in the South. Elephant garlic seed stocks tend to be pricy and really hard to get so we prefer to replant elephant garlic from last year’s season. In the last spring when we harvest our elephant garlic we store it underneath the barn to dry out like we do our onions. Throughout the year we will consume a little bit the elephant garlic but save some as well for planting next winter. When we get ready to plant the elephant garlic we simply break apart the bulbs into individual cloves and that is what we plant in the garden area. To prepare the garden for replanting elephant garlic you should make a small trench or furrow to plant the garlic cloves. Travis likes to use his Double Wheel Hoe with the Plow Set attachment in the furrowing position. He makes rows that are around 3 to 4 inches deep to plant the garlic cloves in the furrow. Then he walks along the row placing the garlic cloves 8 to 10 inches apart in the furrow with the pointed end up. Then, Travis took the High Arch Wheel Hoe with the plow set attached in the hilling position he straddles the row of garlic cloves and covers them up. Due to garlic being related to onions they are heavy feeders that require an accurate amount of water and nutrients to the plant roots. Once the garlic leaves emerge from the soil, applying plenty of water and fertilizer is key to the success of growing big bulbs for replanting elephant garlic next year. We use our drip tape irrigation for heavy-feeder crops like garlic because it applies water directly to the plant roots in the vegetable. We can also use the drip irrigation to feed the plant roots with a water-soluble fertilizer like 20-20-20 to give the elephant garlic plenty of nutrients. For replanting elephant garlic it is important to effectively plant them in the garden in order to produce big bulbs that can be used year after year.