by Connie Oswald Stofko
I love garlic because it’s easy to grow. Plus, you get two harvests per season! The first harvest is when you cut the scapes and the second is when you dig up the bulbs.
Harvesting garlic scapes
The curlicue stems, which are the flower stalks, are called scapes.
You should cut off the scapes. If you don’t, the plant will divert resources away from the bulb to the scape, leaving you with a smaller bulb. Besides, you can eat the garlic scapes.
Harvesting garlic bulbs
The second harvest of garlic is when you dig up the heads of garlic from the soil. You can do that around mid-July in Western New York.
Here is a tip Master Gardener Carol Ann Harlos left on a previous article: “I dig up several garlic heads about mid-July to check on the leaves. The leaves correspond with the wrappers around the bulbs. When about one-third of the leaves are brown it is time to harvest. Use a garden fork! If you wait too long to harvest the garlic won’t keep as long.”
Planting garlic cloves
To get a new batch of garlic, you plant cloves of garlic this year and harvest next year.
Traditionally, it’s been recommended that you plant garlic cloves in October for next season’s harvest. However, I have planted as early as July, and it doesn’t seem to affect the plants in any way. See more in this article where I staggered plantings starting in August. You can plant as late as November, and sometimes as late as December, weather permitting. See more on garlic in general here.