Elephant garlic is a perennial related to true garlic, leeks and onions. In appearance it looks like a giant garlic, but is actually more closely related to Leeks. It has broad flat leaves and forms a bulb comprised of relatively large garlic like cloves The bulbs can weigh more than One pound each. A single elephant garlic clove is commonly as large as a whole bulb of true garlic.
In taste it is closer to garlic than leeks, not quite as pungent and strong as garlic, it has a milder softer somewhat sweeter taste. Unlike true Garlic it is edible raw and goes good in a salad.
The plant, in addition to producing the large edible garlic like clove also produces a smaller hard shelled bulb on the outer surface. These small bulbs are not commonly eaten, although they can be, they are more commonly used to propagate more Elephant Garlic plants.
Unlike true Garlic, Elephant garlic doesn't need to be divided periodically. It can be left in the ground without fear of rot and over winters nicely, it IS after all a perennial.
Growing Elephant garlic from seed is not advisable, the germination rate is very low and the process time consuming. Growing Elephant Garlic just as you would other bulbous root crops is the best route.
Elephant Garlic can be planted in the fall or early spring as soon as the ground can be worked, Autumn is best if you're patient enough. Planting in the fall leads to bigger, more flavorful bulbs when you harvest the following summer.
It does best in full sun, will tolerate partial shade. Rich Organic soil that is well-drained is optimal. A Soil pH of 5.5 to 7.5 is acceptable.
Break up cloves from bulbs prior to planting keeping the papery husk on individual cloves. Cloves should be planted in a furrow with the flat end down and pointed side up about 2 inches beneath the soils surface.
Organic Mulch is advisable especially when planting in the fall. Shoots should begin to appear in 4 - 8 weeks. They go dormant when father winter appears but will resume growth come spring. Leave the mulch in place come spring to conserves moisture and suppress weeds.