Bulbs and bulblike plants, Vegetables
These onion relatives, known botanically as Allium sativum, are not known in the wild. Seed stores and some mail-order seed houses sell disease-free mother bulbs (“sets”) for planting—and some gardeners have had good luck planting bulbs from grocery stores.
In mild-winter areas, plant in fall for early summer harvest; where winters are cold, plant in early spring. Break up bulbs into individual segments (“cloves”) and select the largest ones. Plant in rich, well-drained soil, setting cloves pointed end up, 1 in. deep, 3–6 in. apart, in rows 15 in. apart.
Harvest when the leafy tops fall over; lift out with a garden fork rather than pulling. Air-dry the bulbs, cut off most of the tops and roots, and store in a cool, well-ventilated place out of the sunlight. Giant or elephant garlic has unusually large (fist-size) bulbs and mild garlic flavor. Grow as for regular garlic, but space 8–12 in. apart.
For ornamental relatives, see Allium.
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