Growing garlic in home gardens is easy and fun. And one of the best times of the year for growing garlic is garlic scape time!
There are two types of garlic, hardneck and softneck. Softneck is typically the variety sold in grocery stores as it can be stored longer than hardneck. Hardneck garlic is the variety that produces a garlic scape–essentially a hard flower stalk
Garlic scapes should be cut from the stalk when they are long enough to curl back toward the stalk. By removing them, the plant will be using it’s energy to increase the garlic bulb/head size instead of toward flowering and seed production.
Garlic scapes are also delicious and can be used in place of garlic in most any recipe. Here’s a link to some recipe ideas: University of Illinois Extension: Game for Garlic Scapes?
Here in northeast Illinois, garlic should be planted in the fall, 6 to 8 weeks before the ground is expected to freeze. But even garlic planted in late November to early December can produce good-sized garlic heads. Garlic is typically ready to harvest in mid to late July. Check out this guide from the University of Illinois Extension: Growing Garlic.