Texas Gardening forum: Garlic or Onion?

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Name: Sandi
Austin, Tx (Zone 8b)
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Bubbles
May 29, 2013 9:09 AM CST

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These grow back every year at the lake. The original owners had a huge garden. I dug these up and thought they were garlic. Brought them home one year and hung them to dry (like garlic). Didn't like the looks of them, so threw them under a tree. They came back every year. Now I don't think they're garlic. The bulbs are two to three inches across. I'm not a veggie gardener. Can you tell?
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Name: Anna
North Texas (Zone 8a)
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canadanna
May 29, 2013 5:41 PM CST
Have you cut it? It looks more like an onion. My garlic gets little bulbets attached to the bulb but maybe that's just my kind.
Name: Sandi
Austin, Tx (Zone 8b)
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Bubbles
May 29, 2013 6:37 PM CST

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I'll go cut one and be right back! Thumbs up
Name: Sandi
Austin, Tx (Zone 8b)
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Bubbles
May 29, 2013 9:27 PM CST

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I don't know where my post went, but here goes, again! The bulb looked like an onion, but didn't smell like one. Didn't smell like garlic either. Not going to eat it until i know what it is!

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After looking at the cut bulb, I peeled the outer layer off and there were three "cloves." I'll have to cut another one tomorrow. There are little seed bulbs that were hanging off the main ones (in the second pic).

The bloom:
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Name: Jay
Nederland, Texas (Zone 9a)
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Horntoad
May 29, 2013 9:52 PM CST
I'm going to take a wild guess here and say it's a leek. Either Allium porrum or Allium ampeloprasum

Leek (Allium porrum)

Elephant Garlic (Allium ampeloprasum)
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Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
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drdawg
May 30, 2013 6:17 AM CST
Leek, onion, and garlic all belong to the same family. Leek is more or less a milder onion, usually with a smaller bulb. You may have leek or onion and only tasting it will tell you what it is. It won't harm you to take a little nibble. You definitely don't have garlic here. The flower head you show is very typical of onion that I grow. Ken
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Name: Sandi
Austin, Tx (Zone 8b)
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Bubbles
May 30, 2013 8:43 AM CST

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First pic shows how long they are
Thumb of 2013-05-30/Bubbles/7dcf62
I striped the dead stuff off the stalk
Thumb of 2013-05-30/Bubbles/997da8
Shows the segments of the bulb and a seed from last night, and a cross section of this morning's experiment on the right. Doesn't look like an onion.
Thumb of 2013-05-30/Bubbles/26bc8f


Name: josephine
Arlington, Texas (Zone 8a)
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frostweed
May 30, 2013 9:45 AM CST
It is Elephant Garlic, I am very familiar with it, you have to plant the cloves separately in October to get a good garlic bulb with many good cloves.
Here is a link to show how I cultivate it http://davesgarden.com/community/blogs/t/frostweed/4151/

I hope posting it here is o.k. Smiling
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Name: Sandi
Austin, Tx (Zone 8b)
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Bubbles
May 30, 2013 9:58 AM CST

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Thanks Josephine! I think you've solved the mystery. Thanks to Horntoad and Dr Dawg too!

It had already bloomed. I usually let the deer have everything, anyway. I'll plant some here, so I can keep an eye on it. Thumbs up
Name: Jay
Nederland, Texas (Zone 9a)
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Horntoad
May 30, 2013 10:31 AM CST
That is one of the plants I suggested (Allium ampeloprasum) in the post above. Also known as wild leek.

Elephant Garlic (Allium ampeloprasum)
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Name: josephine
Arlington, Texas (Zone 8a)
Hi Everybody!! Let us talk native.
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frostweed
May 30, 2013 10:50 AM CST
Oh, I didn't mean to say you didn't have it right, you did have it right , of course. Smiling
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Name: Sandi
Austin, Tx (Zone 8b)
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Bubbles
May 30, 2013 11:02 AM CST

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Horntoad, my confusion was not seeing any discernable segmentation in the layers when I sliced through the bulb. It didn't look like garlic and it didn't look like an onion. Josephine pointed out it needed to mature. I think I dug it up too soon. And now I wonder if I shouldn't just chuck it all, except for the little seed bulbs that were hanging on? Not sure if it's good to eat.
Name: Jay
Nederland, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Region: Gulf Coast Charter ATP Member I helped beta test the first seed swap I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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Horntoad
May 30, 2013 11:07 AM CST
frostweed said:Oh, I didn't mean to say you didn't have it right, you did have it right , of course. Smiling


Well, I gave two options so I was only half right. Hilarious!
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Name: Betsy
Texas (Zone 9a)
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piksihk
May 30, 2013 11:08 AM CST
Sandi, could they be garlic chives: Allium tuberosum, (commonly known as garlic chives, Chinese chives, Oriental garlic, Chinese leek, also known by the Chinese name kow choi[3] (also transliterated as gau choy; Chinese: 韭菜; Mandarin Pinyin: Jiǔcài; Wade–Giles: Chiu3-ts'ai4; Jyutping: gau2 coi3), or the Japanese name nira, is a vegetable related to onion.
They have garlicky smell.

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Name: Sandi
Austin, Tx (Zone 8b)
Texas Gardening
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Bubbles
May 30, 2013 11:52 AM CST

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I don't think they're garlic chives. These very big and tall plants. Of course, being that I'm not much of a veggie gardener, my garlic chives are only about a foot tall on a good day!
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
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drdawg
May 30, 2013 12:39 PM CST
My garlic chives are at least 2' tall but your plants don't look like they are garlic chives. They also would have been in bloom in April/May, depending on what part of the country you live in. There blooms are white where the standard chive blooms are lavender. I have never bothered to plant Elephant "garlic" (which isn't even a garlic) because the taste is so tasteless. Since I have never seen it grow I don't know what it looks like before digging up. But Elephant garlic has distinctive "cloves" and is quite large, so again, the pictures I see don't fit the plant. I still think you have a variety of leek.
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Name: Anna
North Texas (Zone 8a)
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canadanna
May 30, 2013 7:53 PM CST
Looks like the bulbets give another point to the garlic group
Name: Sandi
Austin, Tx (Zone 8b)
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Bubbles
May 30, 2013 8:00 PM CST

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There were definitely "cloves'' of some sort. I think Josephine was correct in that I dug it up too soon. I'll plant the little seed bulbs and see what comes up next year here....where I can keep an eye on it.
Name: josephine
Arlington, Texas (Zone 8a)
Hi Everybody!! Let us talk native.
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frostweed
May 30, 2013 9:38 PM CST
Sandi, the little seed bulbs will make a mature bulb on the second year from planting, they also take a long time to germinate because of the hard shell, but they do come up eventually. Smiling
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Name: Sandi
Austin, Tx (Zone 8b)
Texas Gardening
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Master Gardener: Texas
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Bubbles
May 31, 2013 6:18 AM CST

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I'll try 'em! Thanks for good info!

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