The Garden at 485 Elm
People growing together:
a collaborative community garden in Montpelier, Vermont

Garlic Scapes: A Delicious Garden Task

The garlic plants are sending out scapes. Our job is to harvest and eat them!

If we left the scapes on the garlic plants, they’d grow into beautiful flowers, using up energy. Instead, gardeners snap or snip the entire scape from every plant, freeing up those resources to help grow our target crop: heads of garlic.

Here are the wrong and right way to harvest scapes. The gardener on the left hasn’t snapped off enough of the scape. See the stalk remaining on the plant? The gardener on the right snapped off the entire scape, all the way down to the leaves. That’s how it’s done.

There’s another important reason to harvest the garlic scapes. See the damage on this one? That means leek moths, a pest that damages alliums, have laid eggs, and the larvae are eating their way into the plants.

A scape with leek moth damage is fine to eat! We cut off the affected parts and put them in the garden waste windrow. It’s fine: Leek moths don’t spread that way.

If we didn’t harvest the scape, the larvae could eat their way all the way down the plant into the garlic bulb, i.e., our food! Click here to learn more about leek moths and garlic.

For the next few weeks, gardeners will harvest all the scapes from our garlic crop. Scapes are delicious fresh: Snip them into an appealing size and scatter them over salads, onto sandwiches, and into the food processor for pesto, chimichurri, salsa, or zhoug. Or snip them into smallish pieces and toss into pasta dishes, stir-fries, burritos, soups, and more. The taste is similar to but milder than garlic cloves. Enjoy!