When to Cut Garlic Scapes

garlic plants

My Garlic Plants

When do I cut the garlic scapes? Obviously I am not a seasoned (successful?) gardener, or I would know the answer. I haven’t had much luck growing garlic, which seems so simple. So I had to look it up.

This year my garlic plants are growing so well. I am very pleased. I planted them back in October of 2014, and once the snow finally melted, they began to push through the soil. They are growing in a fabric, raised bed. It’s the first time I’ve planted them in a place other than the ground. I guess I won’t know for another month or so if the bulbs will be big, but I am hopeful.

Now, at the end of June, I just noticed that some of the plants are producing scapes, which is the curly flower stalk.  I check on my garden every day, but suddenly there they were, green swirling stalks with white, pointy tips.

I had to look it up, but Cedar Circle Farm said to cut them the end of June so production would go toward the bulb and not the flower. If you let it flower, seeds will form.  Do the seeds create more garlic plants the following year?  I think so, since I have continuous small garlic plants growing in bunches where I planted bulbs 2 years ago.

The same farm site has advice for what to do with those garlic scapes. Use them like garlic, and add to any dish you would add garlic to.  I only have a few, but I plan to use them in many ways in the upcoming days. Once fresh produce comes into the house I don’t like to let it sit around and lose nutrients.

I guess I’ll have to wait another month or more to dig up the garlic bulbs and then let them dry.  I use my little patio greenhouse to dry garlic.  I know they are supposed to dry in the sun, and they get sun, but in an enclosed area.  Once my greenhouse has done it’s job of holding my spring plants, I set it aside (off my tiny deck) to use for drying garlic.

Pictures of My Small Backyard Garden

Although I have almost an acre of land, most of it is low-lying forest and wetlands.   My backyard is a narrow strip, with the sun hitting part of it only 6-7 hours a day.  I do my best, trying to plant crops in the space that gets the most sun.  It’s a challenge when I have to rotate plantings each year.  The photo below was taken last summer (2014).  That is pretty much my entire backyard. I plant flowers and vegetables along the edge of a slope, which drops off to woods beyond.  Only the part near my deck gets enough sun for good vegetable growth.  I concentrate my plantings there.

backyard garden

My Narrow Backyard

Photo Above: See my new propagated hydrangea there in the front?
I’ve added raised fabric beds to the area, which has been a great help.  Last fall I planted my garlic bulbs, and they are doing very well – better than any garlic I’ve ever attempted to grow.  I hope the bulbs will end up being nice and big.

summer garden zucchini

Zucchini and Garlic Growing in Fabric Pots

What begins as lots of space, quickly fills in when the plants grow and expand. The tomatoes grew great last year (picture below) right up until they all died of late blight! It was depressing.

tomato bushes

Full Tomato Bushes

blackberries

Blackberry ? or Black Raspberry Bushes

It’s a constant battle with the black raspberry plants (or are they blackberries?) that threaten to overrun the yard. They grow upwards from the slope, where I think they were purposely planted to hold the earth in place.  It’s one of the few berries I dislike.  It figures that I have tons of them!  They are eaten by the chipmunks and birds, when my cats are not around.

Raspberries grow at the side on my house, and I can find many wild strawberries in the yard.  The strawberries I planted have become overrun by weeds, and I didn’t have enough space for a proper strawberry field.  Occasionally I find a few nice ripe berries to munch while I survey my garden.  The sunflowers are volunteers that sprout wherever they choose.  The seeds self-plant from when I feed the birds in winter.

I sometimes wish I had acres of land to roam and plant, but I’m content with what I have. It takes a lot of time to garden, and especially when you do it all alone.

Lush Garden Foliage

Lush Garden Foliage

Green Floral Bath Mat From My Photography

green hydrangea floral bath mat

Green Floral Bath Mat

I like to have flowers in my house. If not real flowers, then anything with a floral design, like this bath mat, will work.

There are not many flowers growing in my yard at this time of year. The hydrangea images I’m using for this blog and for creating products at BlueHyd were taken last year, or before that. Work doesn’t stop, and when new products arrive and need images, I scour through my best photography to add to items.

When the new bath mats came out, I was skeptical. Some items I create never sell, and I hate to waste time trying to promote something no one wants. This green hydrangea bath mat has surprised me. It seems that floral designs are popular in the bathroom, and customers seem to like green the best.

Although I have made this bath mat in blue, pink and white, the light green color is the one that sells.

The green flower that created this all-over photography image, grew on a hydrangea shrub in my landlady’s yard. The flower began as a bright blue color and gradually faded to green by fall. It was beautiful. My own Endless Summer shrub has never created the same lovely green shade.

Who Spends Spring Cleaning the House?

painting cleaningWhen I lived in Florida I wondered why there was such a thing as spring cleaning. Why wait until spring? Of course I could go outside almost any day of the year in Florida. Dumping the dirty water from cleaning the floors, or rinsing the paint brush was simple. Turn on the hose and your done.

Then I lived in the north. I was born in Massachusetts, so I knew all about winter, but I had never owned my own home while living there. I lived in apartments and had less to do. There was no grass to mow or gardens to tend. My tiny apartment was quick and easy to clean.

Now that I have a home of my own, I know why spring is the season to clean. The garden hoses are stored in the basement for the winter. Everything is cold and frozen and there is no way to go outside and rinse anything. Washing windows is not advisable when they are icy cold. The garage can’t be swept out.

Painting the walls must also wait until the weather allows for opening windows. I started painting a couple of months ago – it’s slow going. But the woman who sold me my paint said that they were running out of paint because so many people were buying it! I wasn’t the only one waiting for spring to begin the chore of painting my walls.clean living room

Once the snow began to melt, it was as if we suddenly came alive. As if we’ve all been living in a cave for five months and were suddenly released into the world. That’s how spring in New Hampshire makes me feel. It’s a time when we can go outdoors and survey the yard and clean up the winter mess.

The warmer weather and sunny skies bring people back to life just as it does the trees, grass and plants. It also brings the bugs out, and that’s another good reason to stay inside to clean. May brings the black flies to my area, and they are the most annoying bugs I’ve ever encountered. And I’m from Florida where the mosquitoes, roaches, fire ants, spiders and such, thrive!

I’ve come to realize why Spring is the time to clean, both inside and outdoors. It’s a big job for me that lasts well into summer. I used to look at winter as a time for rest, but after last year’s snow storms (2014-2015) I know better.

Before I know it the summer will be over, but at least my house will be clean.

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