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Old October 27, 2016   #1
PureHarvest
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Default To Scape or Not To Scape

So, i have done the obligatory research on planting garlic. I have surfed through the old threads here. Trying to decide if I will take the scapes off my hardnecks.

What is the current opinion of whether leaving them on affects size?

Now that folks here have maybe tried (some posts go back a couple years with mentions of leaving scapes on to see what happens), what were your results?

I don't care about the culinary or bulbil planting value. Just looking to reduce labor if I step up to significant size production down the road. I have a buyer who wants me to grow garlic and would love to get to a 1/2 acre or more in a few years.
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Old October 27, 2016   #2
joseph
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I leave scapes on, because I am growing pollinated garlic seeds.

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Old October 27, 2016   #3
PureHarvest
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Any opinion on resulting bulb size when leaving scapes on?
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Old October 27, 2016   #4
brownrexx
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I have not done a study but I always cut them off. We do not eat them and I figure that the plant does not need to waste energy making them if they are not used anyway.

I have always heard that it increases bulb size but I have no data on that.
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Old October 27, 2016   #5
TC_Manhattan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PureHarvest View Post
Any opinion on resulting bulb size when leaving scapes on?
Here's what Bob Anderson has posted on his website, Gourmet Garlic Gardens:

"Hardneck garlics will send up a stalk, or scape as it is properly called, a few weeks before harvest time. Some growers prefer to cut off the scape and some prefer to leave it on. There is widespread disagreement among growers about when or whether to cut the scape. Some say if you cut the scape it will make the bulb larger. Some say if you don't cut the scape the garlic will store longer and better-and make better seedstock. Some say you must cut off the scape at just the right time to get the right balance of size and storability or hardiness of the bulb. Some say if you cut off the scape too soon you will get big bulbs but that they are more susceptable to disease and short storability (just eat them first.) I suggest you experiment and see what works best for you in your situation. Most serious growers I know do cut the scapes while they are still tender and either eat them or sell them to gourmets - they're highly prized for their delicate flavor and they're only available for a short time in the spring."

And here's the link to that page in his website: http://www.gourmetgarlicgardens.com/harvesting.html

You will find tons of information there.
I hope this helps..
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Old October 27, 2016   #6
PureHarvest
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Thanks guys. I've been all over the GGG website.

I guess I was looking to see if anyone has moved beyond the anecdotal and done a side by side comparison already.

I am planting two 85' beds this weekend. I will do a side by side with those next spring...
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Old October 27, 2016   #7
bower
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I am only a couple years into the garlic growing, but I think it may depend on the variety, whether it affects bulb size to remove the scapes.
This year I was growing up some Persian Star from rounds (2nd year). A couple kept their scapes and were much smaller bulbs than their sibs without. I also saw much smaller bulbs on my large porcelain Argentina with the scapes left on for bulbil production.
But the Spanish Roja that I left scapes on had bigger bulbs than I expected, especially since a couple of them were doubles. They were about full size anyway.

I would be surprised though if you didn't cut the scapes to sell as part of a commercial garlic venture, especially if catering to the chef market. Around here they sell $3 for a bundle of 5 scapes. That's an extra $60 on every 100 head of garlic, that comes in 2-3 weeks before bulb harvest for us. The scapes are a delicious treat at a time when everyone is hankering for some fresh garlic, and five or six weeks before the bulbs will be cured and ready to sell.
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Old October 27, 2016   #8
PureHarvest
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I hear you, but trying to market a half acre of scapes would probably be beyond my allowable time.
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Old October 27, 2016   #9
bower
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What variety will you be growing? I'll be curious to hear your results.

Maybe one of your youngsters is enterprising enough to pick the scapes and sell for pocket money, if you have a market in the area. That would solve your labor issue, and if the 85 foot row went well next year, they might be happy to expand.
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Old October 27, 2016   #10
Durgan
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I have experimented with my perfect hard neck garlic on a scale of about 100 plants each year.

I now leave the scapes on the bulbs produced are larger than if the scapes are removed.

I don't harvest in early July anymore. The plants are left in the ground until the bulb skin begins to crack due to the cloves enlarging and raking he envelope.

The extended life bulbs keep as long as the enclosed types in storage.

I also found the clove size in general has no bearing on the size of the bulbs produced.

This year I am growing the main crop from garlic produced from the sequence of bulbils, rounds, and bulbs. Also a row of selected large bulbs were planted for comparison documentation.

I have attended garlic festivals looking for garlic with larger cloves than what I grow. Never have I found any appreciably larger and often much smaller.

http://durgan.org/2016/October%20201...20Garlic/HTML/ 16 October 2016 Planting Garlic
Garlic was planted today. Two rows of bulbils (60), two rows of one year rounds (40), one row of typical cloves for comparison (20), and five rows of one year old rounds (100) which is the main crop. The bed was prepared earlier, covered with wood chip mulch. The soil is a good texture with compost and moisture. The cloves were pushed into the soil to make firm contact. The bed was heavily wood chipped and the plants have no difficulty pushing through in the Spring. The bed requires no care except maybe some water if the season is dry. Nothing attack my garlic and it is always excellent quality.
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Old October 27, 2016   #11
TomNJ
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I have read many books on garlic and the consensus is that leaving the scapes on will reduce the bulb size. There appears to be some exceptions, however, such as with very fertile soil. I remove my scapes, but every year I miss a few, and these bulbs were always smaller than the average.

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Old October 27, 2016   #12
bower
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There's a pic of a side by side test here:
http://harmonioushomestead.com/2013/...garlic-scapes/

I don't think you want an 85 foot row of the 'scapes on'.
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Old October 27, 2016   #13
guruofgardens
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We cut all of the scapes except this year I wanted seeds for a later experiment. I left 6 scapes on the plant. When it came to harvesting the seeds, I pulled the garlic heads out of the ground instead of having to dig them out as they were much smaller. It shouldn't take that long to break off the scapes. I plant 5 rows, 22' long. It may take up to an hour, but that's because I rubber band them in groups of 10.
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Old October 27, 2016   #14
henry
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Leaving the scapes on delays the harvest date by 1 to 2 weeks the bulb size will be very close to those that had their scapes removed.
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Old October 28, 2016   #15
Zeedman
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In the 2015/2016 planting, I grew 34 garlic varieties, of which 23 were various hard necks. Because I exchange bulbils with other collectors, I let a portion of each variety remain uncut. At harvest time, the plants with scapes had a noticeable reduction in bulb size. The degree of reduction varied, some porcelain types were least affected.
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