Texas Gardening forum: a new pass along plant

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Name: Donald
Eastland county, Texas (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Enjoys or suffers hot summers Raises cows Plant Identifier
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needrain
Feb 8, 2017 10:20 PM CST
It was given to me as garlic. I thought at first it might be some kind of leek, but I cleaned and chopped one up to add to some vegetable stew to try it out. I think it probably is some kind of garlic, but there were only four cloves in the bulb. I trimmed and chopped the whole plant, including the green leaves. The leaves seem a lot milder, but the bulb portion was much stronger. A whole plant gave a lot of garlic flavor to the stew :).

I think it's probably not the proper time of year to dig and transplant it, but pass along plants generally manage to do just fine. After I washed the shovel full I was given to remove the grass and weeds, it was enough to fill up a large container. Almost as big as a cast iron wash tub. Spacing was close. I can't plant root veggies in the ground here because the clay is just too tight and they won't grow and are impossible to dig out. I hope the container planting is successful.
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Donald
Name: Sandi
Austin, Tx (Zone 8b)
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Bubbles
Feb 8, 2017 11:04 PM CST

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Could it be elephant garlic? That's what we have at the lake (so I was told).
Name: Donald
Eastland county, Texas (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Enjoys or suffers hot summers Raises cows Plant Identifier
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needrain
Feb 9, 2017 9:55 AM CST
I don't know. I guess they could be. They are nowhere near the size of the elephant garlic you see being sold, but they've more or less been growing under naturalized conditions for a few years so they might look different and smaller grown that way. I'm not knowledgeable about garlic and haven't ever grown any successfully. We had some leek when I was in Jr. High, but that location was wonderful sandy loam with available water. We never used it except occasionally in a pot of pinto beans. When this matures, it may look different. The trick for me will be to grow it successfully and learn to use in cooking. I've been reading on the net and there seems to be plentiful ways to incorporate green garlic into food dishes. It'll be a bit different from the garlic out of the grocery store bin!
Donald
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
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porkpal
Feb 9, 2017 10:12 AM CST
Perhaps @MaryE can help you out. I know she is an experienced garlic grower.
Porkpal
Name: Kristi
east Texas pineywoods (Zone 8a)
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pod
Feb 9, 2017 10:20 PM CST
I would say it is garlic and it looks the right size for this time of year. My garlic (also passed along from a friend) starts new growth in late fall and won't mature till May or June. You will enjoy that for years to come if you save a few to replant. I leave mine in ground as a perennial. Many folks do grow garlic in pots so I'm sure you will have no difficulty with it. Enjoy!
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Name: Mary
The dry side of Oregon
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MaryE
Feb 16, 2017 3:57 PM CST
Sorry I am late to the party. Yes, garlic. Not Elephant garlic. Elephant garlic (which isn't really garlic) has hard, three sided corms growing on the bulbs or dangling from the roots. It sounds like yours was probably not dug up for a couple of years. It should do just fine in containers and be happy to have plenty of room for roots (6 inches each way), and water until the lower leaves start to die. Here at the 45th parallel we plant in October and harvest in July. Mine has been under a few inches to 3 feet of snow since late November. It will come up through the straw in March or early April.
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Name: Donald
Eastland county, Texas (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Enjoys or suffers hot summers Raises cows Plant Identifier
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needrain
Feb 16, 2017 8:06 PM CST
I think it had been growing undisturbed for several years. For some reason they weren't happy with it. I'm going to check back with them and find out why because I like it very well. My problem is going to be retaining some so it returns every year :). I'm sort of impatiently waiting for those green tops to grow some more so I can chop more and use them. Can I harvest and dry some when the tops cease growing in late spring?

Thanks @MaryE !!
Donald
Name: Mary
The dry side of Oregon
Be yourself, you can be no one else
Charter ATP Member Region: Oregon Farmer Enjoys or suffers cold winters
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MaryE
Feb 17, 2017 12:55 PM CST
I've never done that but have eaten the curly scapes when they are tender. I chopped and froze those on a cookie sheet and then put them in jars to keep the freezer from having garlic breath. It was handy to just pour out a few when I needed them. Maybe you could get more of that garlic from the same source? When you harvest it, (assuming that you will take it all out of the container at once), do not leave it in the sun. Sun makes garlic bitter. Hang the plants in bunches tied by their tops in a shaded shed with good ventilation. I dry mine for a month, then cut the tops and break off the roots and store the bulbs in containers with ventilation. Dollar Store baskets work fine, so do wire baskets or milk carton crates stored in a cool, dark place.
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