Elephant Garlic  

We dug our Elephant Garlic a few days ago. We didn't have a whole lot of it planted but we plan to turn around and plant cloves from all but the smallest bulbs next year. That way we can start to build up the amount of plants we have, from the same plants that we started with. These plants are kinda special to me 'cause they came from my grandparents garden and they have both passed on now.

Here are a couple pictures of one of the bulbs. Then I will tell you a little of what I found on the 'net about elephant garlic.

Elephant garlic is not a true garlic, it's really a leek that divides like a garlic. It has a milder, sweeter taste than American garlic and is sometimes called, "the garlic for people who don't like garlic".

Elephant garlic is pretty versatile in the kitchen. You can use it in dishes where you would normally use garlic. It is mild enough to use in dishes that would be overwhelmed by the strong flavor of regular garlic. And you can even slice it into 1/4 inch thick slabs, saute it in butter, and serve it as a vegetable.

When you dig fully mature elephant garlic you'll find some hard, little, yellowish, bulbets around the bottom. Some people call them bulbets and some call them corms. I don't know who's right but I'm calling them corms because most farmers call them that.

If you want, you can plant the corms right after you harvest the elephant garlic and they will form new plants. The first year, they make a round. A round is a small plant that has one solid bulb with no divisions. These can be eaten and I've read that they have a stronger garlic flavor than mature elephant garlic. If you don't eat them, they will come back the second year and form a mature plant with cloves.

If you can't plant the corms right away the "shell" will get quite hard and they will store 'til next year. Then score or nick the shell to allow water in and soak them overnight before planting.

This entry was posted on Thursday, June 12, 2008 and is filed under , . You can leave a response and follow any responses to this entry through the Subscribe to: Post Comments (Atom) .


WOW! That is an elephant garlic just because of its size alone. I never heard of elephant garlic until reading your post. There are so many fruits and veggies to learn about that the majority of us dont know about yet. Thanks to your post I can say I learned something new today! Thank you! :)


Hummingbirds go absolutely NUTS for the blooms of the elephant garlic, so I don't usually cut the tops off until fairly late in summer to give the birds a chance to have natural pollen.

I've tried to clear out several beds of the garlic but they just keep coming back year after year. It does have a nice, mild flavor which we enjoy very much.


It might be noted that not all elephant garlic will get as big as the huge one you're showing. I harvested a lot of it this year and the size of the mature head varies a lot, from small to fairly large.


My sister weighed hers in at 5 lbs for some of them! I have a pic of one in her hands and it was huge! Then again, her gardens look like someone put them on steroids...lol. She is an organic gardener who uses mushroom compost, bunny and chicken manure which she ages first. The bunny manure she does not age and she also uses comfrey leaves in her compost. I am growing hers for the first year..should be interesing. The cloves I planted are huge, the size of a bulb of regular garlic. My garlic I grow is an heirloom purple striped hardneck, it weighs in at about a half pound on the larger size. They sure store great. I am looking forward to the elephant garlic and your comments on yours being family handed down is wonderful!


I have grown and sold elephant garlic for two years. Thanks for the insight on the corms and the resulting round heads (i.e. no separate cloves), The rounds which came up on their own can get quite large. I wonder how big the next generation will be. I use large amounts of coffee grounds from Starbucks and other sources. Some of my customers have complained about sleepless nights after using my garlic in various dishes-not really but it is a free nitrogen source.