On harmonic convergences in the garden


The girl models edible jewelry in the form of garlic scape bracelets.  That’s part of the first round of garlic drying on a rack behind her, a harvest of about 10 pounds of softnecks from my tiny first-year bulbil sets.  They didn’t get as large as I thought but this was still a successful experiment.

Many, many things bloom and ripen at the same time and it is quite a boon for both we food gardeners and the people our gardens feed.  Strawberries and rhubarb, tomatoes and basil, peas and spring onions are a few at the top of my head/tip of my tongue. And there are items we seasonal eaters absolutely look forward to all year:  for me, it’s that one big pot of asparagus risotto, that first gluttonous binge of shell peas, that first ripe tomato, warm in your hand.

Somehow, however, my convergence gets off track, and it’s (mostly) my own damned fault.  I mentioned that my potatoes went in late this year.  I also mentioned that garlic is ONLY getting the greenhouse treatment from now on because the heads so produced are exceedlingly large and (thanks to the time warp that’s greenhouse living) early.  This means, therefore, that my garlic scapes are going to miss the first grabbled potatoes by as much as a month.  SIGH.  This, this is a shame.  Tiny potatoes and minced garlic scapes!  Divine!

Scapes are little twisty miracles all on their own, of course.  The flower stem of rocambole or hardneck garlic, there is raging debate if they should be left on or chopped off to ensure bigger heads below ground.  Frankly, I have never noticed a difference in the head size of scapes that escaped.  But I do what I can to harvest them all.  They can freeze successfully, and even have a fairly long life in the refrigerator if you keep them in a damp towel.  I won’t go that far.  All my potatoes are gone (and this is no hardship; they’re staples 10 months of the year) so I actually (gasp!) purchased three local Russets from the farm stand down the road.

I couldn’t let those scapes go without a little spud love….

11 responses to “On harmonic convergences in the garden

  1. Love the jewelery…what a wonderful world it would be if we all wore garlic scapes around our wrists.

  2. I assume you blanch them before freezing like other vegetables?

    I’m thinking I would rather save mine for stirfries over the winter than turn them into pesto.

    • PlantingOaks, yeah, I suppose blanching would be fine. Considering how tough the things are I would think the enzymes that have a field day with my green beans have a tougher job with scapes. In other words when I froze my two dozen or so scapes last year I was lazy and had simply chopped them and stuck them in a ziploc bag, where I rescued them in Jan. none the worse for wear. Go ahead and blanch ’em though.

  3. What a darling little girl. I love the look on her face, the sweetness of her smile, and the orange shoes!


  4. 🙂 – on both the picture and the thought of garlic scapes with just about anything. Well, maybe not strawberries! Yes, with tiny potatoes, they are to live for. I’ve even just munched them straight while in the garden. Never knew you could freeze them though – guess I’ve found another task for this weekend.

  5. I’ve never eaten them, much less turned them into fashion accessories. The things I learn here.

  6. So, like green onions chopped or just the bulby part?

  7. Great photo, your daughter is obviously not timid which is a good thing these days.
    I have a garlic question, I know everything I have read says to plant in the fall but I have a whole head here that has started to sprout, is there a reason not to get them into the ground now?
    Also, having never grown garlic, how much room does it need? I am considering planting it in big buckets that are about 12 inches tall.
    Thanks for any tips you can share!

  8. Mavis, the world might smell a bit more homey! Or at least it would smell more like MY home…

    Linda, thank you. She’s actually a really sweet kid…though of course she has her moments! And orange shoes are imperative in a girl whose favorite color is orange. She’s aiming for orange glasses at the end of the month.

    MC, yeah, you can do all kinds of things with scapes. I just use them like I use most other onion-y things, though I do appreciate how they keep their shape.

    Pamela, I bow deeply, knowing I don’t know everything…yet.

    Stef, I had simply cut the whole scape into 1″ pieces, can’t remember what I was going to use them for, and obviously changed my mind about that particular dinner and threw them in the freezer, thinking I would get back to them in a week or so. Well, months went by. But yeah, whole thing, watching for the tougher lower end.

    Janis, it is my experience that garlic that sprouts just wants to get into the dirt–badly–so it doesn’t really care what the calendar says. Unlike onions whose peak growth takes place when there are the most daylight hours, garlic just appreciates not rotting on your kitchen counter. I have stuck sprouty cloves in the ground at every possible time of the year, and after 2 years I had a whole set of new big-ish heads of garlic (see that post called On Garlic). But to get the biggest heads, they need a bit of a chill and then be stuck in the ground. So here’s what you can do. Put the head in a paper bag and stick it in your refrig for a week, then pull it apart and put it in your pot, separating the cloves by 4″ any direction. Putting it in the ground is better, and for bigger heads, 6″ apart and 3″ down is best. Good luck!

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