The giant yet mild clove has been an instant hit, catching the attention of passers by at every event we have attended. I thought I would write this blog to answer some of the questions we are regularly asked.
Question: Is it real? (accompanied with a look of amusement and disbelief)
Answer: Yes its definitely real
Q: Where does it come from?
A: It was rediscovered in Oregon USA in the 1940’s but it is believed to have originated somewhere in the Mediterranean.
Q: Can you eat it?
A: Yes you can. You can roast it and eat it whole or purée it and add it to soups and sauces.
Q:Can you grow it in this country?
A: Yes you can, in fact its easy to grow. It can be planted up to mid January but for best result we recommend you plant before the end of November. Plant it tip up roughly 3cm below the soil level. It requires a long growing period. Dig in compost to aid growth but plant in full sun in well draining soil. As it is actually a relative of the leek rather than a true garlic, it is more resistant to diseases like white rot it also seems to be almost pest free. Nip off any flower heads as soon as they appear so that all the energy is put into producing that large bulb.
Q: When do I harvest?
A: Between June and July but resist the urge to check the growth of bulbs. This will in fact damage the growth and will be the most likely cause of a small or underdeveloped bulb. If the weather has been dry the leaves should go brown and die down.
Q: I have small round cloves attached to the roots or between the large cloves. What do I do with these?
A: Plant them these will form rounds, not true cloves or bulbs but equally edible. Don’t let them dry out though as they will not grow.