Although I’ve gardened for some years, I didn’t start planting garlic until three years ago. Living in the desert, I couldn’t grow garlic without an unseemly amount of irrigation. Living in the South, so many grand oaks grew around my home that I was restricted to shade gardening. Now that I’m in Maine and have a sunny hill, I’ve been learning through experience about growing garlic.
Two summers ago, I eagerly pulled up my first garlic crop but was terribly disappointed by the measly bulbs I found. I asked around and quickly learned my mistake: I hadn’t clipped off the flower growing at the tip of each plant, and all the plant’s vitality had gone there instead of to the bulb. Last summer, I clipped off the garlic tops and tossed them in the compost; my bulbs came out big, lovely and smelly.
It wasn’t until this year (Just today as a matter of fact) that I learned the name and use of the top part of the garlic plant. The tops are called “scapes,” and apparently you can cook with them, just as you might use green onions.
These are going into a stir fry with loads of ginger and a teriyaki sauce tonight. Yum, yum.
What do you do with your garlic scapes?