If you grow garlic, you have been growing garden scapes and may not even know it. Garlic scapes are the stalks that shoot up from the garlic plant while the bulbs are maturing. These stalks are also referred to as the flower stems. Garlic scapes are normally cut off the garlic plant in order to prevent the plant from going to seed and to increase the size of the garlic bulb. Cooks are using garlic scapes in food dishes, as they add a light garlic flavor without the strong garlic kick. To grow garlic scapes, plant hardneck garlic as you normally would.
Plant your garlic in the fall, as the cloves need a cool, dormant period in order to produce.
Select a location that gets a lot of sun and has good soil drainage. Garlic bulbs do not like to sit in dampness.
Prepare your soil by loosening the soil to a depth of 6 inches. Add a 10-10-10 fertilizer, available at lawn and garden centers, to the soil in the amount of 3 lbs. of fertilizer per 100 feet of garlic soil. Work the fertilizer into the soil by turning the soil over several times with a shovel.
Separate the garlic cloves, if necessary, and plant the cloves 3 to 4 inches deep into the soil with the pointed end up. Cover gently with more soil. Space the cloves 6 to 8 inches apart, and if you plant more than one row, space the rows 2 feet apart.
Cover the garlic beds with 6 inches of straw or leaves for the winter months. In the spring, as the garlic begins to grow, you can pull the mulch away from the garlic sprout.
Watch for the garlic stalks to grow and start to curl. These stalks are your garlic scapes. Cut the scapes off the garlic plant right down at ground level. The earlier in the season you cut your scapes, the more flavor they will have.