Home Gardening Series (part 1): Growing Garlic Scapes

Published: April 15, 2021
Last updated: July 20, 2021

Gardening, for many people, is a uniquely fulfilling leisure pursuit. From the wind that blows across your face, to the rich and fertile smell of the earth, there are few better ways of quieting anxieties, stilling emotions and regaining a truer perspective on life.

Gardening combines gentle physical exercise as well as exercise in patience, creativity, fresh air and the joy of brining beauty in the world, or even food for the spirit, with your own nurturing hands. However small your plot is, use it to grow aromatic herbs or flowers, attract butterflies, or maybe even vegetables and fruits – if you are really ambitious.

What to expect in this series

Follow us as our garden comes alive this spring/summer with garlic scapes among other vegetables and fruit including scotch bonnet pepper, callaloo greens and peas. We hope to highlight what it means for us to value the earth and the bounty that it provides.

See the time lapse in photography.  Learn about garlic scapes, how to cook with them, and get recipes. Also get links to resources to learn about growing your own food.

--- In Photography: Week of April 12

--- In Photography: Week of April 19, Snowfall

--- In Photography: Week of April 26, Rainfall

--- In Photography: Weeks of May 3 & May 10, Sunshine and Squirrels
Before the winter season and in great numbers, squirrels begin to bury nuts in preparation for the cold weather when otherwise food will be scarce. If you live in a rural area, or near a park, you’ve most likely observed this behaviour that looks very much like preparation for a wide-scale scavenger hunt. Well, that scavenger hunt has begun among our rows of garlic scapes. You’ll notice the holes dug among some of the plants in the photo.

It amazes us though that these enthusiastic foragers have only been digging around the garlic scapes – not disturbing the plants.

--- In Photography: Week of May 17, Canadian Drought Monitoring
The Canadian Drought Monitor (CDM) is Canada's official source for the monitoring and reporting of current drought conditions across the country. Drought conditions as of April 30 for the Greater Toronto Area are reported as moderate. We've noticed the dryness of the season to date reflected in our home garden, however, not having too much rain does put our garlic and scapes at a growth advantage. Tap HERE to learn more about the Canadian Drought Monitor.

GarlicFarm.ca advises that during the growing season garlic only requires fairly even soil moisture with no additional moisture during the last few weeks. With not enough moisture garlic will not develop a full size bulb. Over-watering garlic results in burst skins and mold, poor wrappers and poor keeping qualities.

The plants currently measure just under 3 feet.

--- In Photography: Weeks of May 24 - June 4, Awaiting the Scapes and Curl
Around mid June, we should see round stalks or scapes. When the scapes curl, we'll snap them off.

--- In Photography: Week of June 7, The Scapes are Coming In

What are Garlic Scapes?
Everyone has heard of garlic, but most people have not heard of garlic scapes. The flavorful flower of the garlic bulb enhances recipes and offers a wealth of health benefits!

Garlic scapes are the long green flower buds that grow from the garlic bulbs. When the flower is removed, it allows the garlic bulb to grow bigger and fuller. The scapes are green and long and resemble green onion.

The scapes do taste like garlic but are milder in flavour, and you can use them in many ways. They can be added to a salad, grilled, fried, or eaten raw. The tips of the garlic scape are the most flavorful and tender and are delicious in soups and stews.

--- In Photography: Week of June 14, Harvest Week
Our long awaited garlic scapes are finally here and some of them have been harvested this week! Once the scapes are removed, the plants' energy will transfer to developing the garlic bulbs.

These scapes taste super fresh and amazing as is - and just like garlic. Over the next few weeks we will create and share our recipe ideas using the scapes we harvest.

--- See Recipe #1: A tasty pesto made with fresh greens including garlic scapes from our harvest, basil and kale. Tap RECIPE CORNER.

Garlic Harvest
Our excitement, and possible obsession now with growing garlic continues! This is our first ever batch of  homegrown garlic that we harvested.
--- In Photography: Week of July 19, Garlic Harvest

--- In Photography: Week of July 19, Garlic Harvest

When you see garlic in the grocery store, it’s the bulb of the garlic. What most people don’t see are garlic scapes. Thank you for taking the time to visit our Food and Wellness Blog. We hope you enjoyed this series and even learned a thing or two about growing and eating garlic scapes. 

Grow Your Own: Recommended Resources

Ecosource, ecosource.ca
Ecosource is an innovative environmental organization inspiring our community to care about and take personal action for the environment through creative public education. The Peel Local Food Literacy in Action project increases opportunities for Peel residents to connect with nature, understand their impact on the local food system through hands-on field-to-table learning and take action to improve the health of their communities through neighborhood projects.

Watch the documentary Kiss The Ground now streaming on Netflix. "Kiss the Ground, a nonprofit, started in a living room as a group of concerned friends learning together about how agriculture focused on soil health could positively impact the environment and balance the climate." Learn more at kisstheground.com


Note: The content in this series is for educational and informational purposes only. Your use of the content is at your sole discretion.

Written and Photographed by Eartha Lowe.