Roots 'n' Shoots: Monsters, Garions and Onlics

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Monsters, Garions and Onlics

I have been growing onions and garlic in the garden for quite some time. The onions have been very successful, although the larger bulbs do take there sweet time to develop. The garlic grows fine, but for some reason I have strange things happening to the garlic come harvest time.

The first odd occurrence came when we planted about 40 Hadeco garlic bulbs in the beginning of 2013. These were all planted outside near the veld where the Alfalfa patch is situated. Garlic also takes its time to develop, so they only received as much attention as the Alfalfa (but, the onions that grew there where fine!). When harvest time came around, the garlic well... had disappeared!!! I mean 40+ bulbs just vanished! We still haven't figured out who or what the garlic monster was, but I decided to then plant them in the main garden lest the Garlic Monster strike again.


Our recent oddity regarding my garlic growing endeavours was when I purchased a bunch of cloves in a brown paper bag, about 10 or so. (I can't remember the manufacturer, when I see them again I'll post it here). I dedicated a pot for them and they grew very happily for a few months. Harvest time came round again and I was grossly disappointed, many of the bulbs had hardly developed and others seemed more... oniony...

The minute garlic cloves did not have any proper flavour at all and the oniony ones had such a pungent garlic smell that all vampires would have fled from Ruimsig! Thus investigation into the garlic-onions began...

...We suspected that these garlic-onions are likely the result of garlic x onion hybrids. I have never heard of garlic x onion hybrids before (which I refer to as garions and onlics LOL!) but I have found that there have been attempts to create garlic-onion hybrids for future culinary use. Maybe our bulbs where rejects from the breeding programmes or simply accidents from allium farms, which have lead them to be sold to the unsuspecting home gardener?

I have a link to a patent here that describes the process of establishing a garlic x onion or onion x chive hybrid - Patent US5367111. In this patent the onion (Allium cepa) is the ovum donor and garlic (Allium sativum) is the pollen donor, resulting in a near-intermediate garion/onlic plant. Here is a photo of the one of the garions/onlics from my garden:


Garlic x Onion
Hybrid


The leaves represent that of garlic whereas the bulb is fleshy and layered like an onion. I am not sure about the plants developed from the patent, but these garions and onlics from my garden are definitely not a culinary delight! Alas, I will wait patiently until Hadeco brings out their garlic bulbs in Feb/March to plant once more...

There will be garlic! I will not let Garlic Monsters, Garions or Onlics prevent me from savouring homegrown organic garlic!






[Garlic Monster Picture Credits: Monsters; Aleksandr Obuhov. Garlic; Eric Jewell]


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3 comments:

  1. I, too, have a problem growing garlic. I have purchsef cloves from a seed supplier, and have planted the rare sprouting bulb when I spy it in the veggie section of my supermarket. But neither performed well - and harvest was pitiful!!

    Onions - no problem.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I don't understand why the onions are doing great, but the garlic won't seem to grow... maybe we are missing some secret garlic-grow-dance that involves a rainy night, full moon and braided garlic necklaces LOL! ;)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi all,

    I have not grown garlic ever so cant help with any secret garlic dancing recipe. However just want to say the passage "such a pungent garlic smell that all vampires would have fled from Ruimsig!" was absolutely brilliant. Dit was kak snaaks!!

    ReplyDelete

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