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Garlic scapes rise just before summer solstice here in Zone 5, the harbinger of high summer and abundance yet to come, and one of our favorite delicacies of all time.
Scapes only form on hardneck varieties. In fact, the scape is the extention of the 'hard neck' at the center of each bulb. Softneck varieties lack such a hard 'scape,' making them ideal for braiding. If you want scapes on your table, plant hardneck varieties, Friends! We grow about 8,000 heads of garlic each season, both hardneck and softneck, so we revel in the ocean of scapes we harvest each June.
Garlic scapes emerge one month before bulbs mature, so once they emerge we make sure we're ready for harvest. We clean out the barn where we cure our bulbs, make sure our fans are working and get enough twine and tags so we can hang them immediately. Once one-third to one-half of a garlic's leaves are brown and drying down, it's bulb is ready to lift gently with a digging fork to eat fresh or cure for the...
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