Garlic, Part II: Garlic scapes

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Garlic, Part II

By drdawg
May 5, 2015

I have grown heirloom, gourmet garlic for several years. Here is some information on garlic you might find in your grocery store, how to grow and harvest garlic, and how to store it.

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Name: Christine
North East Texas (Zone 7b)
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wildflowers
May 5, 2015 6:49 AM CST
I sure enjoyed reading your garlic series!!

In May we really look forward to cutting the garlic scapes back so I can use them in cooking. They have a nice garlic flavor great and they're a welcome alternate while you wait on those bulbs to be ready! I need to go out there and look for some scapes. Smiling
May your life be like a wildflower, growing freely in the beauty and joy of each day --Native American Proverb

[Last edited by wildflowers - May 5, 2015 6:50 AM (+)]
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Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
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drdawg
May 5, 2015 6:52 AM CST
Thank You! I tip my hat to you.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
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Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
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Bonehead
May 5, 2015 9:21 AM CST
Thanks - I believe you have cleared my seasonal mystery of 'where did those little clumps of garlic come from' which I hadn't planted -- which I then split up and spread around randomly in the magical section of my garden (to ward off vampires). I then pay little attention to them (don't bother to try to harvest so few), but some must get to the point of developing scapes and dropping bulblits. Interesting!
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
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drdawg
May 5, 2015 9:29 AM CST
Growing my garlic is the closest I can come to "farming". I would love to have a small farm but my choices are: Have a wife or Have a farm. Easy answer. Whistling Garlic is my "cash-crop" and every cent I make goes right back into buying and growing my tropical plants (and of course, the garlic for fall planting).

I haven't seen a vampire in years! Thumbs up
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
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Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
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Oberon46
May 5, 2015 9:53 AM CST
Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing No vampires! How boring. Hilarious!

Again a great article. I will print all three off for future reference. I have many little green sprouts now. I am so excited. I don't care what they produce the fact is they survived. Now to refine the process. I am a convert! So perhaps you need to add to my order this year what you think might do well to grow up here. I certainly don't want to devote time and energy, much less limited garden space to a 3/3 garlic crop.

Thanks again,
Mary Thank You! I tip my hat to you.
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
May 5, 2015 11:08 AM CST
Mary, when you do harvest that garlic, you are going to educate not only me but also the rest of ATP. You are growing garlic further north, and probably further west, than anyone else I know of. I look forward to seeing what your results are.

I have sent you a T-Mail. I needed clarification.
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If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Karen
Cincinnati, Oh (Zone 6a)
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kqcrna
May 5, 2015 2:08 PM CST
Great article, Ken.

I planted a little garlic last fall for the first time ever. The lower leaves are starting to dry and I hope to harvest some soon. I love garlic.

Karen
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
May 5, 2015 2:21 PM CST
When half those lower leaves turn brown, that is usually when I harvest mine. Remember NOT to remove those brown, dried leaves. We neat-freaks like a tidy garden! Whistling If you remove them, you will never know when you have reached that 50% brown level. Sighing!

What did you plant, Karen?
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[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Donald
Eastland county, Texas (Zone 8a)
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needrain
May 5, 2015 2:22 PM CST
I've really been looking forward to these articles! I love garlic.
Donald
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
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Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
May 5, 2015 2:29 PM CST
Why, thank you, Donald. I am glad you have found them interesting and not too boring.

I do my best to explain how different the flavors and pungency of heirloom, gourmet garlic are, but usually I just say: "It will knock your socks off!". I am not very good with the English language. Sighing!
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If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
May 5, 2015 4:13 PM CST
Excellent article, Ken!! As a northern gardener, I would just add.... if you garden in the north, don't be afraid to ignore the "conventional wisdom" and grow whatever type you want to grow. I originally grew a couple of hardneck types (which I actually prefer, because they have few, but larger, cloves around the central stalk), but then tried a couple of softneck types (Polish White and Western Rose, which were supposed to be relatively more hardy in cold climates) because I wanted to make "garlic braids." Those also grew fine for me. This year I have a Creole type, Ajo Rojo, which is growing well in my "open" garden as well as in an unheated hoophouse. I find it quite amazing that the garlic, planted in the fall, will survive REALLY cold temps in the winter; the winter of 2013/2014 here was exceptionally cold, with extended periods of sub-zero temps, and yet my garlic ALL came up without a single miss. And learn from my mistake and don't let the tops dry completely down before digging -- I did that the first year (like I do with onions) and had a mess of loose cloves... much nicer to get intact bulbs! Smiling
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Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
May 5, 2015 4:40 PM CST
Since I don't grow in your region, I have no personal knowledge of what grows well there. I simply have to go by what people tell me about growing garlic in their areas and what the commercial growers tell me. Some Creole varieties, and certainly some softneck varieties may be more cold-resistant. I just don't know. Often garlic is grown in soggy soil and in the far north (such as Michigan) I think this would be a problem. Sometimes growers simply live in a micro-climate and their zone doesn't quite fit their climate. And often, growers have tricks that make growing possible (mulching/hoop house/etc.). I love to experiment and encourage others to do so. I just won't tell someone in a zone 4/5 that they can successfully grow a certain garlic, particularly a Creole. Shrug!

You want to harvest your garlic when approximately 1/2 of the lower leaves turn brown. Generally speaking, at least for me, I will harvest my hardneck 10-14 days before my softneck and Creole. Do let us know how your "experiment" turns out. I can add that information to my "data-bank" aka brain. Whistling
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Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
May 5, 2015 4:53 PM CST
Exactly what I'm saying, Ken -- I've read many times that we should only grow hardneck types in the north, and I don't really think I'm in any sort of particular microclimate here, even it if is known as the 'banana belt of the UP' ... and yet, those varieties do grow just fine for me. I think that whether we live in a cold or tropical climate, we should try growing whatever it is that we want to grow and see how it works... within reason, of course! (pretty sure I can't grow an orange tree outside here -- THAT would definitely call for some tricks!! Rolling on the floor laughing )
"Blessed is he who has learned to laugh at himself, for he shall never cease to be entertained."
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Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
May 5, 2015 4:56 PM CST
Lots and lots of tricks, Sandy. Citrus won't even survive here in zone 8.
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Name: Linda
Carmel, IN (Zone 5a)
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mom2goldens
May 5, 2015 6:58 PM CST
What an great series on growing garlic, Ken. So many people think it is so difficult, when it actually is a fairly easy crop to grow if you know the basics.

I also look forward to harvesting the scapes. I love cooking with them, or using them in place of green onions.
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
May 5, 2015 7:04 PM CST
Thank you for your kind words, Linda. Those scapes are only available with the hardneck varieties. I guess if you look at it that way, hardneck is a good choice to plant and it grows practically anywhere.
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If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Karen
Cincinnati, Oh (Zone 6a)
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kqcrna
May 5, 2015 7:16 PM CST
drdawg said:When half those lower leaves turn brown, that is usually when I harvest mine. Remember NOT to remove those brown, dried leaves. We neat-freaks like a tidy garden! Whistling If you remove them, you will never know when you have reached that 50% brown level. Sighing!

What did you plant, Karen?


I planted elephant garlic and Romanian Red.

When you say "When half those lower leaves turn brown"... do you mean one half of each of the two bottom leaves? Or half of the total number of leaves? I'm not sure how to read that?

Karen

Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
May 5, 2015 8:07 PM CST
Let's say a stem has a total of 12 leaves, from the bottom to the top. When the lower 6 leaves have turned brown, it is time to dig up the garlic. This only pertains to garlic. Elephant garlic is not even a garlic and I know nothing about that.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
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If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the first seed swap Region: United States of America Region: Michigan
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Weedwhacker
May 5, 2015 8:12 PM CST
Karen, my understanding is that each green leaf that's left on the garlic plant represents one layer of covering on the bulb... so definitely leave at least 3 or 4 green leaves. Smiling
(I can't say about the elephant garlic, either... I've never grown it)
"Blessed is he who has learned to laugh at himself, for he shall never cease to be entertained."
- John Powell / Cubits.org - A Universe of Communities
/ Share your recipes: Favorite Recipes A-Z cubit
C/F temp conversion / NGA Member Map
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
May 5, 2015 8:15 PM CST
IT IS NOT GARLIC! Sighing!
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
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If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.

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