Harvesting Garlic Scapes: Tips and Tricks

Garlic is a great crop to grow; it’s relatively easy to cultivate and can be used in many different ways. It’s an excellent season crop that can be planted in the early spring or fall. Most people grow garlic for the bulbs, but you can also harvest and use garlic scapes in many dishes. The stems of hardneck garlic can be eaten if they are collected at the right time. Let’s look at harvesting garlic scapes.

We’ll discuss when to look for scapes and how to harvest them. 

Harvesting Garlic Scapes

Harvesting Garlic Scapes

Garlic scapes are the stems of the garlic from which tiny bulbs or seeds grow. These are tasty and similar to a green onion. They can be added to many dishes as long as they are harvested at the right time. If you leave it too long to harvest the scapes, you’ll find that the stems are woody and undigestable. 

In the early summer, you will likely see garlic scapes appearing on your plants. The exact time will depend on the variety of garlic you’re growing and the climate where you live; in most cases, scapes form on hard neck garlic in June. You probably won’t get garlic scapes if you have planted soft neck garlic. 

Here are some tips to help with harvesting:

  • Consider harvesting the scapes once the garlic plant has reached full size but before they become woody. The stems will grow upwards and curl around, forming an upside-down “J” shape.
  • Once this stage is reached, you can begin harvesting your scapes. Be careful not to damage or pull too hard on the garlic bulb, as the plant is still actively growing.
  • To harvest garlic scapes, simply cut off the stem at the base with a sharp knife or pruner. You can also use clippers if you prefer.
  • If desired, you can try cooking your scapes before using them in recipes. It’s a good idea to cook older scapes as they will be more fibrous. Cooking will soften the stems and make them easier to use.
  • Once you have harvested your garlic scapes, you can store them in the fridge or freezer until ready to use. They should keep for several weeks when stored properly. 
  • Garlic scapes can be used in many recipes, from stews and soups to salads and stir-fries. They are a flavorful addition to any dish and can be chopped or sliced, depending on your preference. 

The benefits of harvesting garlic scapes

Harvesting Garlic Scapes

Even if you don’t plan to eat your garlic scapes, it’s a good idea to harvest them anyway. Not only will this increase the size and quality of your garlic bulbs, it can also help protect the plant from pests and disease. 

Harvesting garlic scapes is an easy way to improve your crop yield and ensure you have plenty of fresh garlic to use in all your favorite recipes!

If you don’t harvest your scapes, they will grow into bulbils, which are tiny bulbs from which new plants can be grown. The garlic plant will put a lot of energy into producing these new bulbs, making your garlic smaller. Cutting off the bulbils as they appear means you’ll get a better garlic crop during harvest time.


Why not give harvesting garlic scapes a try? With these simple tips, you’ll be enjoying this delicious and versatile crop in no time. 

Garlic scapes are a seasonal crop that can only be enjoyed when the garlic plants are still growing. Whether you add them to your favorite dish or experiment with new recipes, garlic scapes are a great way to get the most out of your harvest.