Gardening: now is the time to tend to your garlic scapes

A gardener in the municipality of Powassan, Ont., is busy tending to her garlic to make sure her crop is a bumper one.

"You planted your garlic in the fall. You’ve mulched it, you watered it, you hoed it and in late spring or early summer curly stems appear out of the ground," said Kathie Hogan.

"What you do with these stems or garlic scapes is very important to the growth of your garlic."

But what happens if you don’t cut off those scapes?

"There’s a seed pod at the end of the scape and that seed pod has a hundred garlic seeds in it," said Hogan.

"So you will basically grow garlic in your garden for the next 10 years."

Hogan said it’s critical that you take the scape off your garlic because it forces the energy to go into the garlic bulb.

"The bulbs tend to grow rather rapidly once you remove those scapes," she said.

The scapes look like curly green beans, and Hogan said they taste a little bit like onions.

The long-time gardener said there are several ways to prepare them.

"I put the scapes in a food processor, mince them and put them into jars with some olive oil," Hogan said. "A lot of people make pesto with garlic scapes."

Hogan said raw scapes will last a couple of weeks in the fridge. But if you mince them and put them in a jar with some olive oil, they will last a year.