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.
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:
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:
The largest ones are smaller than my thumb…
I’ll stick with planting the cloves, I think.