Garlic Scapes

comments (6) June 15th, 2009

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Ruth Ruth Dobsevage, Web producer
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Garlic scapes form arabesques on the kitchen table. The light-colored part of the scape is a flower waiting to develop.
Scapes are a seasonal treat.
As your garlic matures, check it for scapes. When they develop, cut them off so the plant will produce good-sized bulbs.
Garlic scapes form arabesques on the kitchen table. The light-colored part of the scape is a flower waiting to develop.Click To Enlarge

Garlic scapes form arabesques on the kitchen table. The light-colored part of the scape is a flower waiting to develop.

Photo: Ruth Dobsevage

One of the joys of spring is seeing signs of life in your garden, and one of the first is the garlic shoots pushing their way through the mulch. As the season advances, the plants grow tall and strong. Late in June, a curious thing happens: on each plant, a stalk appears. It's an odd, curlicue shape, and it's called a scape.

Scapes are flower stalks, and if allowed to remain on the plant they will soon flower and form seeds, sapping energy from bulb production. If you want to harvest good-sized garlic bulbs in a few weeks (and who doesn't?), it's advisable to cut them off when they appear,

If you cut them when they first appear, they are tender enough to eat. For a quick pasta sauce, I like to cut them into inch-long pieces and sauté them in olive oil. They can also be added to soups and stews.

 

Making the most of garlic Get more info on garlic:

Video: How to Grow Garlic
Garlic as an Herbal Medicine
Making the Most of Garlic 
Using Baby Garlic (Green Garlic) 
• Recipe: Garlic Conserve
Harvesting Garlic 


posted in: garlic

Comments (6)

Ruth writes: wildernessny, I'd say half and half. You can always pull up one at that stage, see what the bulb looks like, and then make a decision to wait longer, if you like. Look for a fully formed head, with the cloves not pulling away from the stalk. See http://www.vegetablegardener.com/item/3247/harvesting-garlic for more details.
Posted: 9:06 am on July 26th
wildernessny writes: I grow softneck garlic and I didn't have a scapes on it. Should I just harvest when it is half green and half brown or should I wait until it is brown.
Posted: 9:38 am on July 23rd
Ruth writes: Yes, those little bulbils you saw are tiny plants.
Posted: 9:52 am on July 13th
pdaoust writes: I tried garlic scapes for the first time this year, and boy, are they exciting! They taste a lot like farmer sausage, which I suppose is not surprising considering farmer sausage has garlic in it.

Here's a slightly disturbing thing though: I left one scape on my counter for a week, and instead florets inside the head, I found a whole bunch of tiny bulbils, similar to what you'd see on the head of an Egyptian onion. They were very tasty, but it was weird to see little garlics growing inside the head!
Posted: 5:57 pm on July 9th
Ruth writes: Well, here in the Northeast, it's been incredibly cool and wet for a couple of months, and squash, while they like water at the roots, need some hot and dry weather to develop properly. Not sure what the weather is down your way, but I'm thinking Mother Nature may have been just a little too bountiful with her watering system this year.
Posted: 2:07 pm on July 8th
mackiewicz writes: Hello from NC. My question was in regard to our zuchinni rotting before maturity. I believe the method of watering was the problem. Will try to water under the leaves, but is over watering the real issue? We have two zuchinni plants in a container with a well reserve in the bottom. Thanks again for the "heads-up". Mackiewicz
Posted: 12:09 pm on July 8th
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