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Botanical Name: Allium ampeloprasum
Heritage: Eastern Mediterranean and Central Asia
‘Elephant’ Garlic produces large bulbs with distinctive mild, sweet flavour.
It’s delicious diced and eaten raw and is great for roasting whole cloves with meat and vegetables. Elephant garlic bulbs typically range from 80g all the way up to 300g depending on size.
Elephant garlic is actually more closely related to the leek family than garlic but it is grown and eaten just like garlic. It’s quite rare in NZ still but is easy to grow and doesn’t seem to be affected by garlic rust in the same way as true garlic.
Elephant garlic originated in the Eastern Mediterranean and Central Asia, and early records show that it was popularly grown in England in 17th century.
It often produces a flowering scape that should be removed to help the bulbs develop and grow much larger. The scapes are a gourmet delicacy that can be enjoyed fresh or cooked. Cut or break them off once they curl (at about 20cm – 30cm long) and enjoy them in your next dinners.
Each elephant garlic clove will also produce small corms below ground that look like a very small clove attached to the outside of the bulb or under the first layer of skin (something like a mini clove). Carefully save and plant these corms the following season and they will grow into large round solo bulbs with no cloves (sometimes called mother bulbs and looking something like an onion). These round solo bulbs can then be planted the next season to produce full size segmented elephant garlic bulbs with several cloves. Please note it takes two growing seasons to produce full size segmented bulbs when starting from corms.
Autumn – Winter
Sow Direct, or Transplant
Garlic is best sown in autumn and winter. Carefully break whole bulbs into individual cloves for planting, and sow pointy side up.
0°c - 10°c
21 - 28 days
Cloves are typically sown directly in place 50mm below the surface, approx. 20cm - 25cm apart when soil temperatures are between 0°c – 10°c, however they can also be sown in trays for transplanting.
20cm - 30cm
160 - 200 days
Garlic is popular and fun to grow. Garlic grows best in fertile, well-drained soil in full sun.
As garlic is a heavy feeder we recommend dressing your beds before planting by digging or trenching down 200-300mm and adding sheep pellets or guano or bone flour to the bottom of the hole/trench at a rate of 100g per lineal metre. Fill in the hole/trench with loose soil to form a cushion for your garlic cloves to sit on when you plant them, leaving about 50mm from the top of the hole for planting. Plant your cloves at 200mm – 300mm apart with the pointy side up (tip up) about 50mm deep - so that approx. 50mm of soil covers the planted tips of each clove, and fill your hole/trench back up.
We then recommend sprinkling a balanced bulb food or general fertiliser over the top of your planted garlic row/s at 100g per lineal metre. Preferably use a bulb blend/general fertiliser that’s not too high in nitrogen, ideally the P (Phosphorus) & K (Potassium) values are slightly higher than the N (Nitrogen) value in the NPK ratio.
Garlic can be sown from April – August in New Zealand. Traditionally garlic was sown on the shortest day of the year in June, and harvested on the longest day of the year in December.
If birds or other animals are prone to disturbing your freshly sown garlic cloves, cover with netting or wire mesh until the cloves have put up their green shoots a few weeks later.
About a month before harvest you should reduce watering to improve the keeping quality of your garlic and help the bulbs focus on swelling.
Please note that garlic for sowing is only available during autumn and winter each year.
For more tips to growing garlic successfully in NZ read our blog post here.
GARLIC BULBS PER PACKET:
|HOME GARDEN ($9.90)||Cloves (4 planting cloves)
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This is the formal scientific name for each plant, firstly identifying the genus and then the species to which it belongs.
The purpose of these Latin names is to have a single name that is accepted and used worldwide for a particular plant or plant group, and to help distinguish each plant uniquely from other plants.
This refers to the typical lifecycle of each plant.
Annual: Plants that complete their life cycle within 1 year (from germination to growing and producing seeds, then dying).
Biennial: Plants that complete their life cycle in 2 years (germinates and grows in the first year, then produces seeds and dies in the second year).
Perennial: Plants that have a life cycle of more than 2 years.
It is wise to consider the lifecycle of each plant before choosing its final growing position. For example, you may prefer to plant perennials away from annuals, so your perennials are not disturbed when your annuals are harvested at the end of their relatively short lifecycle.
This refers to the geographic region and approximate date of origin, as it is best known for each variety.
Please note that varieties listed as “pre 1900’s” are very old varieties that have often been grown for hundreds of years, and as such their specific dates of origin are hard to list accurately.
This refers to when it is suggested the seeds are best sown, to encourage strong and vigorous growth in their ideal seasonal conditions.
Please note that while some varieties may be able to be sown outside the range suggested, they will generally perform best when sown in the approximate seasonal ranges provided.
This refers to the suggested method for sowing each variety. Using the appropriate sowing method will help to ensure you achieve best results.
Direct Sow: These are seeds that perform well when sown directly into your garden. These seeds normally produce fast growing and strong seedlings. Please note that young seedlings may still need some protection from harsh weather and pests.
Transplant: These are seeds that perform well when started in trays or containers and then transplanted to their final position once they’re a bit stronger. These seeds often produce slower growing and weaker seedlings that need some care and protection from weather and pests. Seedlings can typically be transplanted to their final position once they are large enough to handle (for example 5+cm tall with several true leaves).
Please note that for varieties where we list both methods you have the choice.
Soil Temp To Germinate:
This refers to the approximate soil temperature range for optimum germination of the seeds.
Please note that while some germination may occur outside these ranges, the seeds will typically germinate strongest when sown in the optimum soil temperature range provided.
Approx. Time To Germinate:
This refers to the approximate amount of time it takes for the seeds to germinate.
Please note that while some variation may occur, with ideal conditions this represents an average amount of time before germination. This relies in part on the seeds being sown in soil at an ideal temperature for germination, per the heading above.
Spacing For Seedlings:
This is the recommended spacing between plants in their final growing position.
Please note that spacing plants closer together than suggested will likely result in underperforming plants, due to crowding and over-competition for root space and available nutrients.
Approx. Time To Harvest:
This is the number of days until the plant typically reaches the purpose for which it is normally grown. For example, this is the time it takes for the plant to fruit or flower, or until the leaves are ready to be picked, etc.
Please note that while this refers to the beginning of harvesting time, the plants could keep growing for an extended period yet, particularly if kept well looked after.
Hardiness To Frosts:
This refers to how tolerant the plant is of frost and cold weather.
Tender: Plants that will be injured or killed by frost and cold weather. These plants will probably not survive winter.
Half-Hardy: Plants that will not tolerate severe frosts, but should otherwise survive winter.
Hardy: Plants that have the ability to survive frost and cold weather. These plants should survive winter.