Scapes already?

exmarMay 14, 2012

Hi Folks,

I tried posting this question a couple days ago in the "vegetable garden forum" and it never appeared, then I recalled there was a separate "Allium forum."

While planting tomatoes, peppers, etc. Saturday, I noticed the garlic had scapes that needed to be removed? Hmmm, that's about 6 weeks to a month early in my experience. Oh, French Music, and I've been growing it for about ten years with very good results. Also noticed that the tips of the leaves were turning brown. Didn't particuarly strike me at the time as we've had a very, very wet fall, winter, and spring so leaching of soil nutrients is to be expected. OK, gotta get some fertilize on them.

Thinking about it later, I'm now wondering if the early onset of scapes and the browning of leaf tips are a signal that the bulbs are maturing very early this year? Admittedly, we didn't really have a winter here in SE Ohio.

Anyone else experiencing this?

Yes, I know that peppers, tomatoes, etc. were planted about three weeks ahead of last frost date, but it seems to be a very early and mild spring. e.g. I've been cutting grass since the end of march which is relatively unheard of here.

Thanks for your time,


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scooter70(6 SW OH)

Yes, i am experiencing this as well, early scapes & slightly browning tips. Fertilized bout a month ago, was going to hit them again today, hopefully it is not too late to do any good. I also have raspberries forming early.
I also wonder when the garlic will be ready this year, it has been the first week in July the past 3 but, it did seem like an awfully warm winter. The harvest window is so small i suppose i will simply do what i did last year when it was so wet...dig up bulbs daily to check on them.
I have also read "Growing Great Garlic", 12 years ago, but never ended up growing at that time...only took 9 years...i only wish i could find the box it i put it in.

Look forward to hearing from others; Is garlic always ready at the same time or will it be early because of the mild winter? (or will they just be bigger cuz they seem huge right now- yay!)

    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 8:32AM
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So far no brown tip here in central Indiana. The onions have been in the garden since about March 11. I was planning to fertilize them today and perhaps once more in mid-June. It has been very dry, the yard is brown.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2012 at 6:17AM
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I started harvesting scapes two weeks ago, and finished the last varieties today. I too have had early browning of leaves. I pulled Bogatyr to check bulb formation and it clearly needed to come out. So, I have it hanging in the barn and will start on my Nookta Rose next. Some other varieties are still green however, but overall this is very early, even for VA. I am attributing it to the warm wet winter as I don't think fertilization is an issue for me.

Here is a link that might be useful: GarlicGarlic

    Bookmark   May 27, 2012 at 2:49PM
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Early harvest here in costal Northern California, too. About two weeks earlier than I have ever harvested the Early Italian Purple and later varieties are showing scapes long before they usually do.

No complaints here.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 3:16PM
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Iam in Southern New Hampshire, Zone 5, and i noticed over the weekend that my "MUSIC" plants are just starting to "scape" as well,,,at least a month earlier than usual..

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 10:15AM
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First year growing soft neck garlic & I got my scapes 2 weeks ago. I cut them per garlic guru's on this site.
My garlic is not full size yet, but the tips are brown, so I water twice a week, when it does not rain.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 1:26PM
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scooter70(6 SW OH)

jolj: i wouldn't water the last month, if the soil is too moist the bulb & skin around will not develop properly, storage life will also be greatly decreased. It will also be hard to tell when you should actually harvest as with watering the leaves will not have the chance to die back.
I am in southwest ohio & usually harvest the first week of July but might be a little earlier this year. I am going to dig up a few later this week to check bulb formation.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 1:10AM
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Bulb and skin will develop JUST FINE and start growing again, split their wrappers and not store as well.

But, yes, don't water.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 10:51AM
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Hi Folks,

Sorry I haven't been back, but "stuff" got in the way. I harvested the scapes froze most of them, a few got substituted for green onions in "mongolian beef." Weird thing, we've been harvesting and eating scapes for a long time, these were the harshest and strongest tasting we've encountered? Normally they taste like a green onion with garlic overtones, these were....tough, chewy, and STRONG. Most hadn't formed a circle yet, so they weren't too far gone. Perhaps another aspect of last years "no winter."

Dug a couple of heads, they were OK, but not fully developed, about what I'd expect this early, but the scapes were early. What i'm wondering is if we're in for an old fashioned "drought." Plants have a way of knowing and send up seed pods and things early when that happens. I do know that I've been watering the garden for a couple of weeks and that usually doesn't happen till the end of june.

Thanks for the responses.


    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 3:30PM
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Update: The plants are about 1/4 brown, historically speaking I wait for them to be about 1/3 then harvest. This is about a month or more early based on 10 years of growing French Music. I just dug one and it's definitely a "keeper" but nowhere near the size they usually attain.

Have noticed that "everything" is about a month early this year, hay, soil dried enough to get corn, etc. in, so maybe this all fits together.

going to give them some more time and see.


    Bookmark   June 8, 2012 at 2:24PM
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gemini_jim(7 MD)

Yeah, it's been an interesting year. All my softnecks (unknown artichoke) flopped over at the end of May which is a little on the early side. Dug them out and they have nice big bulbs. Hard necks Chesnok Red and Music OTOH are still ~80% green, at least a couple weeks from harvest, which is very late in my experience!

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 9:14AM
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Hi Folks,

Dug my garlic last weekend and it's now drying Evin the barn prior to storage. That's almost a month early, but nice big well formed heads anyway. Guess "the winter that wasn't had something to do with it.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 1:16PM
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I thought I'd jump in on the allium forum to see if others are experiencing what I am here in southeastern NH. This is my second year growing. Was thinking the tips were turning brown because I've let Mother Nature water them. The past couple of days have reached close to 100 here. I am growing many different varieties, and they have all scaped out for about two or so weeks now. It's hard for me to tell if the plants are stressed or if they are just early this year. Thanks for the post and all that have shared.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 8:34PM
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