Garlic is one of the easiest things to grow. We have always grown garlic, and love growing it! Garlic gets planted in the fall, so that it dies back a bit over winter, and then shoots back up in the spring. Then you harvest it again in the fall. BUT all of a sudden in the summer, around this time, something starts to happen to the garlic…they are called scapes.
Scapes are the “seed pod” of the garlic, and divert some of the garlics energy to creating them, verses putting it into making me a big ol’ garlic bulb. So what do we do? CHOP IT OFF!
Scapes are easily removed but taking a knife, or scissors (as this is the most gentle way for the bulb) and removing the scape at the base of where it starts. It may ooze a bit, but that is okay as the plant will heal itself.
If you let the scapes grow too long, they will become more fibrous, and can divert more and more energy. The best time to harvest them for eating, is when they just finish their first circle (as they curl). If you don’t plan to eat them, then the sooner you can cut them off the better. If you wait too long they will put on bulbils. Bulbils are basically little seed garlics, you can take them and plant them, but it takes them 2-3 years to fully mature to a head/bulb of garlic. I personally harvest them as soon as I see them, as I am not in it for the scape, but I view the scape as a bonus.
If you want to cook with the scape you can mince it and use it like garlic. I have also seen recipes for scape pesto.
FUN FACT: onions and garlic are in the same family (Amaryllidaceae…the Allium family) so you will see similar seed pods on onions and they can be dealt with the same way…
If you want to see a video on harvesting the scapes and onion seed pods you can check out my Facebook video! See you next week, and if you have a great scape recipe I would love some recipes posted in the comments!