Baby Garlic

Garlic scapes

By now most everyone has heard of (and cooked with) garlic scapes. For those who might not have, the scape is the central stem of a head of hardneck garlic. The white pointy end is the flower, if you leave it to mature.

I had always wondered how long it would take to go from a seed (garlic flowers come pre-packed – no pollination needed!) to an actual head of garlic…

I have a general answer. A long time.

Seeded garlic

Five years (or so) ago, I made a tiny compost pile in this spot. Several years of attempts at growing things there had failed, and Soil Improvement seemed like a good place to start.

Didn’t hurt that it was IN the kitchen garden near the back door, as opposed to a quarter-mile away in the Big Pile…

Into this pile went all the spent veggies and their various parts…like garlic scapes with the bud still attached.

Time marched along, as it does, and the pile went away. The only things that regularly grow in this spot are flowers, and these:

Young garlic from seed

A garlic forest.

This spring, I noticed that a few of them had scapes of their own, and decided to dig. Should have done it a month earlier, when we could have eaten the whole thing like a scallion, but we’ll file that away for future reference.

Five years, from seed to this:

baby garlic

The largest ones are smaller than my thumb…

I’ll stick with planting the cloves, I think.


32 thoughts on “Baby Garlic

    • If I had to give up growing everything else, I would still do garlic…after almost 10 years in this location, we’ve got enough to get us through from one harvest to the next 🙂
      Welcome aboard, Lisa! 😀

  1. You never know – baby garlic may soon become a really fashionable vegetable, fetching huge prices in the top restaurants and you’re ahead of the game with an established patch of them already! I’d never have thought to grow garlic from seed, is there a big difference in flavour or texture?

    • Not sure there was much thought behind it, it just kind of happened…but once I saw them in there, I just let them go…
      If I had pulled them a little earlier, the flavor would have been a little milder, but these were just like their parents..

    • I think softneck garlic is more common in your area, and they don’t have scapes…Are the onions folks grow long-day types, or short-day? Hardneck garlics do better with long-day conditions…
      You should totally give it a try, though…I would give up everything else in my garden, as long as I could keep the garlic!

  2. [loud laughter, I am afraid!] Garlic scapes have been in the news somewhat [I am trying so hard not to exaggerate 🙂 !] lately! Delightful as I have accidentally come upon them myself a few times! If one has the kind of humour you possess I am certain that time does not matter: you just allow things to happen, and if they do, how great . . . 🙂 !

    • Scapes have been a little ‘over-exposed’ here, too…You’d think some people had discovered a new country, the way they go on 😀
      Tasty things, though! Going to use some of the tender little ones for a garlic oil tonight…

  3. I think it’s fairly common that it takes years for any bulb to mature from seed, whether it’s garlic or, say, daffodil, for example. At least you’ve gotten some scapes out of the deal — and only 5 years in the making. They’re just about heirlooms. 🙂

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