garlic scape heads

bakerhardwoods(5b)July 2, 2014

I left the scapes on a few plants of the Music variety (you can see them standing up in the center of the picture). The heads on the scapes seem very immature, but the plants otherwise seem to be getting close to harvest time. I would like to get a decent number of bulbils from the scapes to multiply this variety, but I'm not sure there are any bulbils formed yet.

In the picture the garlic in question is in the center foreground. I've harvested a few of the smaller plants of that variety that had all of the leaves fairly dead. This variety did not seem to grow as vigorously as the other varieties I planted. I've already harvested Inchelium Red softneck garlic because a few plants were falling over and they generally seemed of decent size.

Any thoughts would be appreciated as I have not left scapes before this year.

Cheers, Tim

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Some say to cut the scapes and put the cut ends in water... I just don't trust myself to do that. I'd leave the plants and let the bulbils develop...

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 11:22PM
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The bulbils will continue to grow if you harvest your garlic now, however they will get bigger if the bulbs are left in the ground. The downside will be that the bulbs will lose their outer wrappers and separate and not keep as well but that shouldn't be a problem if you eat them straight away or keep them for planting stock. I'd follow mav72's advice and leave them in the ground since it's the bulbils you're after.
Have included a link to an article about growing bulbils to rejuvenate and multiply your stock that got me interested in growing bulbils. Slightly outdated because it doesn't mention recent developments in true garlic seed but very useful in all other respects.

Here is a link that might be useful: paul pospisil article

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 3:36AM
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Thank you both for the responses. The informative article linked suggested that it will take one to two weeks longer for the bulbils to develop after one would normally harvest the bulbs. That gives me a good idea of what to expect.

Cheers, Tim

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 6:41AM
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I left the scapes on 7 plants of the Music variety. Of course I read about the small bulbils made by Porcelain type garlic but I was still highly surprised by just how many there are. There are hundreds of bulbils in the picture and that many more still in the bulbil capsules.

Will a large percentage of these be viable? Actually grow when I plant them this fall?

I've been reading the other threads about growing garlic and find them very interesting.

Cheers, Tim

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 6:16AM
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I've been growing Music for years along with several other varieties, and I don't understand the motivation for working with bulbils. You're gonna lose 7 bulbs, which would be a lot of planting stock. I could see doing it with one or two, but then my bulbil adventure was disappointing. I'll never again commit to two years of weeding for one crop of bulbs. The Music is as big as it was the first year I grew it, even recovered from some pretty bad seasons.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 11:05AM
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hello Tim, if you haven't already found it, there's a thread about growing bulbils where I've included several links to informative blogs and various sites about growing garlic from bulbils. One of them mentions that they are no longer bothering to separate the umbels and planting the entire capsule. the resulting rounds are of a similar size to the separated ones. Your bulbils should remain viable until autumn, although some of the very smallest ones may dehydrate before then. If you can be bothered, plant the very smallest ones straight away and just use them as greens.
Planatus, there are several good reasons for growing bulbils, it's an inexpensive way to dramatically increase your stock at a very low cost and the bulbs that were left to mature fully are still viable planting and/or eating stock so nothing is actually lost; subsequent bulbs will be fully acclimated to your environment and are often more vigourous and it is a safe way to swap garlic as you are reducing the risk of contaminating your garden with fungal diseases and/or nematodes etc.
If they are grown in containers, the weeding is not such a problem although I grow the bulk of my bulbils in the open ground at a plot in a community garden.

Here is a link that might be useful: bulbil thread

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 4:31PM
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