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Rockambole - how to grow elephant garlic?

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Rocambole - a variety of onions, which is associated with a lot of confusion. The plant, which we call rockambole, in fact, has nothing to do with European rockambole garlic, but is elephant garlic with an impressive size. This is one of the most exotic relatives of garlic and onions. Due to its mild taste, it is easier to use in culinary experiments than "our" garlic. Huge prongs, delicate taste and aroma, high productivity attract many gardeners. But a good harvest without a special "leek" approach to its cultivation cannot be obtained.

Rockambole - how to grow elephant garlic?

Confusion with the name "rockambol"

Understanding what rockambole is is not easy. Over the years of its positioning and sale as a giant garlic, there has been so much confusion that almost half a dozen different plants are called rock cambole both in our country and in the West.

The giant "garlic" that we have spread like a rockambol is a large-fruited powerful type of onion, in which the onion is divided into large teeth, and the taste and aroma remotely resemble garlic or a mixture of garlic and leek.

In the West garlic rockambol (rocambole garlic) call garlic "with true taste" - very burning and fragrant, poorly preserved, with light purple, but small heads. He is a kind of genuine garlic (Allium sativum var. ophioscorodon, a relative of white-purple garlic).

Simply rockambole (rocambole) - a French culinary star, forgotten and revived in Finland - is called comb onion (Allium scorodoprasum) is an interesting type of onion with medium-sized onions that divide into cloves.

Also called rock-ramol sand leek (Sand leek), or Korean black (purple) garlic (Korean pickled-peel garlic) Its ovoid bulbs, even in varieties, reach a diameter of 5 cm, but it is difficult to call them giant.

Really huge onions with cloves often resembling egg size form a completely different kind of onion with a light garlic taste and aroma - elephant garlic (Allium ampeloprasum) It does not belong to the genus of garlic, but it is he who is the very “rockambole” of ours - giant garlic, snake garlic, onion spanish, egyptian onion, Gulliver's Garlic.

At the same time, all three types of plants continue to be confused and falsely synonymous, even managing to replace elephant onions with Suvorov onions, grape, anzur and large-fruited varieties of garlic ...

Elephant garlic, or our "rockambol"

Elephant garlic (Elephant garlic), or Elephant giant garlic (Elephant giant garlic) - Allium ampeloprasum - large perennial species of edible onions. Its aboveground parts, indeed, remind of leeks. Very large bulbs weighing 200 g and a minimum diameter of 10 cm with light "paper" shells are divided into 4-6 very large teeth.

A powerful, thickened, tall stalk rises 1-2 m; it is completely hidden by leaf sheaths by a third of its height. In our “rockambol” garlic, they are flat, linear, large, gradually tapering, surprising in width more than 1 cm, with a bluish-cold color and rough edges. The leaves end at about the height of the middle of the stem, emphasizing the high inflorescence.

Elephant onion grows for 120 days, sometimes only 100-110 days.

Elephant garlic is not propagated by seeds: they may not form at all or remain sterile. But on the other hand, one bulb forms at least 10 (up to 40) children with a very stiff, bright, orangeish shell on the outside - under the outer scales and on the bottom. When propagated by prongs, this onion forms divided bulbs in the first year. When sowing children in the first year, single-tooth grows, and in the second - ordinary bulbs.

Rockambol inflorescences are similar to leeks and anzura bows, with a rapidly falling cover and a stunningly decorative rounded inflorescence with light purple bell-shaped flowers sitting on very long pedicels. Stamens and column short.

Read also our article Slime onion - a healthy and tasty decoration in the garden.

Rockambol inflorescences with a rapidly falling cover and a decorative rounded inflorescence with light purple bell-shaped flowers.

How to distinguish elephant garlic from relatives?

Rocambole-elephant onion differs from garlic, edible and decorative onions in several characteristics, by which it must be recognized when buying:

  • the average weight of the heads is 200-300 g, under ideal conditions it is several times larger (a crop weighing more than 300 g is considered good), even single tooths never weigh less than 50 g (while large genuine garlic is limited to a maximum of 150 g, onions grape - 100 g, and varieties of bows - 50 g);
  • even the kids are massive - they should weigh at least 2-5 g, but the main guideline is the orange color of the shell and high germination;
  • the number of teeth is small, from 4 to 8, most often - 5-6 (division into 2 teeth gives a substitution for Anzura or Suvorov's bow);
  • the aroma is weak, delicately giving out garlic - mild and not annoying, with subtle onion overtones;
  • the taste is only slightly sharp, unexpectedly soft and delicate, with a faint hue of onion, garlic;
  • cloves are easy to chew raw (only grape onions have a delicate taste, but with a talc flavor).

And a few more features that are characteristic of our rock-garlic garlic:

  • the stems of the "rockambol" are several times more powerful than garlic;
  • he can give self-seeding, children often showered and give spontaneous shoots;
  • the content of essential oils, phytoncides, vitamins, and other useful substances, as well as properties, especially prophylactic and immunostimulating, differ significantly from garlic (elephant garlic is often compared in terms of properties to leeks);
  • no less valuable and edible is the young greens.

This onion can be considered not only as edible, but also as decorative - forming growing families and groups without digging.

Common Conditions for Unusual Rockambol Garlic

Elephant onions require the same conditions as leeks, not the usual onions or garlic. We need bright lighting, warm and flat areas. Rocambole cannot be planted only after and before garlic, potatoes and onions. The best crops for crop rotation are cabbage, legumes, zucchini, pumpkins and cucumbers.

Soil for planting "rockambol" should be fertile, loose, worked to a depth of 30 cm, with a high content of mature organic matter. "Elephant Garlic" does not tolerate poor, dense, moist, extremely acidic or calcareous soil. The optimum pH value is from 6.5 to 7.5. Before planting, it is advisable to introduce mature manure or compost into the soil (at least 2-3 months before planting, 20-50 kg of organic matter per square meter).

Soil for planting "rockambol" should be fertile, loose, worked out to a depth of 30 cm.

Dates and sowing rules

Rocambol is suitable for both winter and spring culture. Larger bulbs are sown in autumn, but it is more reliable to grow elephant garlic as a spring crop because of its sensitivity to unstable temperatures and lack of snow.

Sowing dates are similar to the usual "garlic". Rocambole is planted:

  • in early spring when warming the soil (for a month the storage temperature is lowered to 1-5 degrees, for a week - they take elephant garlic to the light);
  • autumn in early to mid-October.

In children, you need to scarify the hard shell. Preferably, the soaking of the teeth and the tooth in a weak solution of potassium permanganate one day before planting.

Elephant garlic is planted to a depth of not more than 4 cm for children and 5-8 cm for cloves, in rows with a distance of about 30 cm. Sowing density - 1 clove or 15-20 cm baby for free growth of large plants.

Rockambol Care

Elephant garlic does not suffer from droughts, but with a lack of moisture, it builds up odnozubki and small heads. He needs a steadily light soil moisture. The soil should not be allowed to dry more than 5 cm, conducting systemic deep watering in dry periods. Perfectly stabilizes soil moisture mulching with organic matter.

Top dressing for our rockambol garlic is critical. It is preferable to apply organic fertilizers in the form of mulch before planting, but complex mineral fertilizers can be applied (2-3 fertilizing with complete mixtures or nitrogen fertilizers at the beginning of growth and phosphorus-potassium fertilizers in the second half of the growing season, in standard doses).

Rocambole otherwise requires standard care - loosening and weeding. Flower stalks do not break out from him, because instead of growing a larger bulb after cutting off the inflorescences, elephant garlic only begins to grow children more actively.

Harvest "rockambol".

Collection and storage of onions - "rockambol"

Bulbs of "rockambol" are harvested when the lower leaves dry and the upper leaves turn yellow - tentatively at the end of July-August - when planting in the winter, and in September - when planting in the spring. It is necessary to dig out carefully, with mechanical damage, elephant garlic is poorly stored.

The crop is dried along with subordinate roots and tops in shading and dryness with free access to air. Then you can store both “clean” heads and elephant garlic in wreaths and braids.

"Rocambole" is one of the most downstream species of edible onions. Typically, the crop is well preserved until February-March - in ventilated paper or fabric bags, boxes, crates, at room temperature (20-25 degrees), with protection from light access.

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