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Garlic

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2006
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by Tileguy376 on June 25, 2006 03:37 AM
Is it best to cut the seed pod off the top to enhance the growth of the garlic itself?
by peppereater on June 25, 2006 03:56 AM
I think the answer is yes. I've always been told to pinch off the seed head on onions, and garlic would be much the same. I've not read anything that confirms that, but it makes sense. It would be like deadheading flowering plants.

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Dave
Even my growlights are getting restless!
by limey on June 25, 2006 04:18 AM
Hi,
I've always removed the seed pods,don't know why, think someone told me too.YES, I always do as I'm told.
Dave
by johnCT on June 26, 2006 12:31 AM
That's my understanding. I'm growing a hardneck variety called Music and that's what I was planning on doing.

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John - Zone 6
by tkhooper on June 26, 2006 01:16 AM
I've cut mine off of most of mine but left it on two of them so that I have some seeds for trade and incase I have a bust one year. Mine that I cut the tops off of have already went brown. I was kind of suprised by that. Anyone else have them turning brown?

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by PAR_Gardener on June 26, 2006 03:46 AM
I was asked the same question in a PM. This is my lengthy reply.

You are describing the garlic flower know as the scape. Well, it's not actually a flower. You will never see a flower. It will contain tiny garlic bulb-lets if you let it continue to grow. You can plant the bulb-lets, but they will take 2 years to produce a garlic bulb.

You've stumbled upon the great "scape" debate; to cut or not to cut. Here are arguments for either side:

Cut it:
Cutting the scape as soon as it appears is supposed to produce larger bulbs. The theory behind this option is that the garlic reproduces through the cloves and the scape. By cutting the scape the garlic will be forced to expend all it's reproductive energy on making the bulbs bigger so they will survive the winter.

This is the most popular option, and the scapes can be used in cooking as they contain garlic flavor.

Don't cut it:
I'm not a garlic growing expert. There are many people with more garlic growing experience than me, and one of those people wrote a book on it. Growing Great Garlic by Ron L Engeland is my garlic growing reference. They have a web site for his gourmet garlic: Filaree Farms In his book, he goes over the entire growing season from planting to harvesting. Since he sells his garlic, storage is very important. He describes his theory on balancing size with storability. Basically, his theory is that when the scape un-curls or straightens, hormones in the plant change, and these hormones improve storage of the garlic. Plus, once the scape straightens, the bulb-lets are big enough that you can use them like you would use garlic cloves. You have to use several bulb-lets to equal one clove, but I've found that the bulb-lets store much longer than the garlic bulbs themselves. Or plant them to really increase your garlic crop. You can eat the one year old garlic, you just won't get individual cloves. The bulb-lets are not prone to the disease and rot that the cloves are themselves.

So I hope that's enough information for you to decide which side of the fence you are going to sit on the great "scape" debate. Personally, I let the scapes straighten before cutting them.

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Composting is more than good for your garden. It's a way of life.
by PAR_Gardener on June 26, 2006 03:49 AM
TK,

If all the leaves have gone brown, you may have a problem. I had a few plants where half the bottom leaves went brown. I pulled one, and the roots had rotted. I was able to use that garlic, but when I pulled the other one a day later, the entire bulb had rotted.

I harvest my garlic when there are only 4 sets of green leaves left. If they are all brown, then pull one to see if it's ok.

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Composting is more than good for your garden. It's a way of life.
by Tamara from Minnesota on June 26, 2006 01:02 PM
That's really interesting PAR. I have been wondering about those scapes. They are so pretty and artistic looking. It makes me want to cut them just to put them in a vase.

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