How to Harvest and Use Garlic Scapes: A Springtime Bonus Crop

Garden Betty

If you grow garlic at home, you’re in for a treat because you actually get TWO harvests from the same plants in the same season.

The stiff, curly flower stems that only appear on hardneck garlic are edible, and removing them will actually improve your main garlic harvest.

Learn how to harvest garlic scapes and use them in your recipes!

Once you see the exuberantly loopy shoot forming in late spring or early summer, you’ll know your garlic harvest is only a month or two away!

You’ll want to harvest the garlic scape once it’s grown above the rest of the plant and just before, or just after, the top of the stem forms it first loop.

If you let it continue coiling around, the scape will toughen up (making it not nearly as palatable) and reduce the final yield of the garlic bulb.

It’s best to harvest scapes in late morning to afternoon when it’s dry, that way the cut has time to heal and is less susceptible to disease. Use pruning shears or snips for a clean cut, and cut the stem at the point where it meets the topmost leaf of the plant.

If you want to maximize your garlic scape harvest, you can pull it out with your hand. Grasp the stem below the seed pod (which looks like a long pointed cap) and pull slowly and firmly upward.

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Garden Betty