Grow Garlic: The Great Scape
By Steven Biggs
Gardener, Garden Writer, Garden Coach, Horticulturist
A garlic scape is a funny looking thing, curling round and round, with a small, pointed bud at the end. Scapes have become a fashionable (and expensive) garnish and ingredient. But they have a much more important use: I’ve found that they’re well suited to a tickle fight in the garden—and my toddler agrees.
Grow Garlic in Every Vegetable Patch
Fun distractions aside, don’t buy garlic again: it’s easy to grow garlic; it stores well; and once the bulbs are harvested it in August, there is space in the garden for a different crop. I recommend garlic for every garden.
Growing hardneck garlic, which can be planted in the fall, means there’s one less job to worry about in the spring. In fact, it’s often poking up before there’s time to sow other crops. If you miss planting in the fall, though, don’t worry—you can plant garlic in the spring too.
- To plant garlic, simply break it into cloves, inserting these, pointed end upwards, into the soil. Plant the cloves about two inches deep and three or four inches apart. Choose a location with lots of sunlight.
- Maintenance: None. No staking, no watering, no thinning. Wow.
- Harvest starts with the scapes, the would-be blooms of the garlic plant. I say would-be because you should remove them so that the plant sends all of its energy to the bulbs, making the bulbs as plump as possible. Snap off the scape well before the flower buds open.
- Harvest the bulbs when the green, leafy tops die. Lift the bulbs with a garden fork, then let them cure for a few days in a warm, dry, well-ventilated spot. Store them over the winter like onions, in a well-ventilated, cool location. Mesh bags work well.
Use scapes as a garnish, one that’s likely to get a curious second look from your guests. Chop scapes and add them to sauces for a subtle garlic flavour. Or, mix them with pine nuts and olive oil to make a garlic-scape pesto.
Try this simple pesto:
- Put scapes in a blender;
- Add olive oil, pine nuts, lemon juice, and sea salt;
- Toss this garlic scape pesto with cooked pasta.
The uses for garlic cloves are endless.
- Try using crushed garlic in a homemade oil and vinegar salad dressing;
- And always rub some crushed garlic on meat before roasting.
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Practical, no-nonsense advice for the edible garden.
Gardener, Garden Writer,
Garden Coach, Horticulturist
with timely tips on growing vegetables, fruit, and herbs.
- What’s in season
- What to do next
- Cooking garden produce
- Common questions
- Kid-friendly gardening
- Upcoming gardening events
ZESTFUL, FUN, INFORMATION-PACKED, OPINIONATED—even slightly irreverent—this graphic-novel-meets-gardening-book empowers readers to make their own decisions in the vegetable garden because the authors, two garden coaches, talk frankly about issues…and don’t always agree.
Click here to visit the website for No Guff Vegetable Gardening.
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