The Veg Plot

Bulbils, corms and free garlic

garlic corms bulbils

This year, our garlic got a bit excited and delivered curious goods we weren’t quite expecting. Some of our regular varieties weren’t content to do all their bulb growing below ground and decided to throw out some cloves HALF WAY UP THE STEM! And as if that wasn’t enough freakery, upon lifting the elephant garlic we found small, hard lumps hitching a ride beneath the bulb like a cheeky barnacle grafting itself to a whale’s underbelly.

But we need not fear nature’s peculiarities, for these are perfectly normal occurrences which will provide you with some bonus, free garlic. As explained below…

These stem-bulging bulbs form on soft neck garlic. They should be snipped off to concentrate their growing effort to the bulbs, but if a few escape the garden knife then dry them out and plant with the rest of your garlic the following season.

These rock hard attachments are the seeds of the elephant garlic. Pick them off and plant in September or October – you may wish to soak them overnight in water or puncture the outer shell to give germination a helping hand. They will grow into a mono-cloved garlic which can be eaten or replanted the following year when it’ll miraculously transform into a fully formed elephant garlic.


  • Thanks for your helpful tip about helping the corms to germinate. I planted some out last year, all nicely spaced, and nothing appeared; though escapees from earlier harvests always seem to get away and grow fine. I’ll try again this autumn using both of your tips to see if they help.

    • Hi Tony
      I’ve found the corms to be unreliable too. Might have to explore the subject a little bit more!
      Let us know how you get on this autumn.

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