Description of Elephant Garlic
Garlic is an invariable ingredient in a huge number of dishes of everyday and festive cuisine. Many refuse to use it because of the sharpness of taste. He has a great alternative - an amazing vegetable, which in Russia and some European countries is called "rockambol." Its real name is elephant garlic.
Its dimensions are really amazing - the weight of one head is about 200 g., Grown on fertile soils - up to 400 g. One clove weighs 50-80 gr., 4-6 in the head.
Elephant garlic is called garlic onion, but in fact it is a perennial plant from the onion family, a close relative of leek. The birthplace of this amazing culture is the Balkans. In the 40s of the 19th century he was brought to America. Now the largest global supplier is Peru. It is found in the natural environment in southern Europe, in the Crimea and the North Caucasus, in Central and Southeast Asia.
Externally, the plant resembles leeks. Height 1.5-2 m (depending on growing conditions). The flower stalk is crowned with a lilac spherical inflorescence. Seeds usually do not ripen, but at the bottom of the bulb children form, which can be used to breed crops.
Despite the great similarities between related plants, leeks and elephant garlic have many differences:
- Elephant garlic has a semi-sharp taste and a light garlic aroma;
- it is grown to form a head, not a white stem;
- head size: it is difficult to fit on the arm of an adult.
A common mistake of gardeners is the cultivation of ordinary garlic on the basis of agricultural technology, and leek based on it.
Elephant garlic has a yield that is 6 times higher than that of a conventional crop. Moreover, it has many positive properties:
- contains vitamins of group B, as well as C, E, K, PP;
- possesses antioxidant properties;
- its essential oil has an antibacterial, fungicidal, hypotensive, tonic effect.
Doctors recommend elephant garlic for infectious and viral diseases. Its use helps to cope with anemia, problems of the gastrointestinal tract, blood vessels, is used to heal infected wounds, as well as in anthelmintic therapy.
The plant has found application in the culinary business for the preparation of dishes from meat, sauces, snacks.
Features of agricultural technology
To get a good crop, you need to take into account such features:
- the soil should be well moistened, especially at a depth of 3-5 cm (mulching helps to preserve moisture);
- a significant increase in productivity is provided by the introduction of organic matter, nitrogen-containing fertilizers.
Removing the peduncle does not lead to a significant increase in yield. At the same time, the number of “children” is increasing, therefore it is recommended to carry out such a procedure to obtain a large amount of planting material. Some of them remain in the soil and clog the organized plantings. The growing season of elephant garlic is 110-120 days.
You can plant elephant garlic in autumn and spring. Winter forms a larger head. However, in regions with cold winters, autumn plantings may freeze.
Suitable soil is loose, well-groomed. The site should be open, lit.
With proper care - a good harvest
The soil for planting winter elephant garlic begins to be prepared in August or September. They bring rotted manure (20-50 kg per 1 sq. M) and, in its absence, compost in much larger quantities. If the soil is loamy, it is made more light by adding sand and peat. However, acidity is controlled: it should not be higher than 6.5-7.5. To reduce acidity, dolomite flour or fluff lime is scattered around the site.
Before planting, the teeth are treated with special preparations for cultures of this family or in a solution of potassium permanganate (12 hours).
One of the landing methods is in trenches. Their sizes: depth - 30 cm, width - 20-25 cm. Compost is laid in a trench. Teeth are planted on it and sprinkled with soil. This natural fertilizer can be supplemented with superphosphate or wood ash. Mulching with leaves of garden trees will protect the planting of elephant garlic from frost, and take root in a timely manner. And with short-term warming, the plants will not germinate. The recommended time for landing is 3-4 weeks before frosts.
Planting material for spring planting begins to be prepared in advance: for three weeks they “harden” at a temperature of 3-5 ° C, then “green”, keeping it in the light for about a week.
The soil is prepared in the winter. Before landing, it is either re-dug up or well loosened. Landing is carried out early enough, as soon as the soil is stable and warms up to 6 ° C. The teeth are deepened by 10-15 cm (depending on size). The beds are mulching.
After the emergence of seedlings, the beds of elephant garlic are watered with settled cold water, so as not to provoke fungal diseases. Drying of the earth and its compaction should not be allowed, therefore watering and cultivation should be regular.
The plant is responsive to the subcortex. It is recommended to fertilize the culture three times a season: after emergence (seed ammonium nitrate); during the active build-up of green mass (organics and urea solution); at the time of formation of the heads (phosphorus-potassium fertilizers or wood ash).
The most common plant pests are onion flies and root mites. To combat them, use a mixture of ground pepper, ash and tobacco chips (process at least 2 times a month).
Harvesting is carried out, depending on the region, from the second half of August until mid-September. A sign of ripening are yellowed and laden leaves. Elephant garlic is perfectly stored until February, subject to several conditions:
- for harvesting, you need to choose dry weather;
- after digging it is dried in a warm, ventilated place, avoiding direct sunlight for a month;
- the next stage is the pruning of dried leaves (stump leave about 5 cm), while the bottom is not cut.
For storage, lay in boxes on a soft bed of straw or dry sawdust. Shelf life: at a temperature of 8 ° C - about 5 months, at room temperature - three.
The cultivation of elephant garlic has not yet become widespread in the post-Soviet space; this is also facilitated by the difficult care and exactingness of the plant. It is difficult to find quality planting material.
The described properties and simple care can make elephant garlic one of the favorite among gardeners and gardeners. In addition, the plant is very decorative during the flowering period.