Thursday, 30 June 2011

The great scape

As they begin to enlarge their bulbs, garlic plants produce a flower stalk, or scape. By cutting the scape, all of the plant's energy is directed towards enlarging the bulb. The scapes are delicious, and are only available for a couple of weeks until we've cut them all.

Ontario has a perfect climate for growing hard-neck garlic like our Russian Reds. Surprisingly, finding anything other than a low-quality garlic from China requires a trip to a farmers market. Without import restrictions, cheap Chinese garlic pretty much put the Ontario garlic industry out of business.

Traditionally, there are very few pests that will trouble garlic, but last year, a new pest which has been moving East arrived on our farm, the leek moth. The leek moth is a pest of all the plants in the Allium family: Onions, garlic, leeks, etc. There are no organic controls to date other than covering, but we have found that manually removing the pests to be an effective control.