Karen/NoCA wrote:I kept waiting for the scapes, went out and looked everyday for those babies....none ever came up. A conversation with the garlic lady at the Farmer's Market enlightened me that not all garlic produces scapes, and I grew one of those!
Karen, I read in the other garlic thread that you planted "Christopher Ranch" garlic. What generally gets grown in Gilroy, like almost all garlic available in supermarkets," is of one softneck variety or another. Its only means of reproduction is via cloves getting stuck in the ground. As you found, softneck varieties rarely produce scapes. Generally softneck varieties have a ring of large gloves surrounding some smaller, sometimes splintery ones in the middle.
What you generally find at farmers markets are hardneck varieties. There are myriad varieties and are the sort garlic freaks seek out. The name "hardneck" comes from the hard, woody stem that runs down the middle of the head. Often there are no small inner cloves, just a ring of large cloves arranged around the neck. In addition to the clove-planting method, hardneck varieties also can (but rarely are allowed to) reproduce by producing the scape, which includes a thickened part called a "bulbil", with what amounts to seed inside. That hard core running though the head is the lower part of what gets called a scape.
Softneck varieties often keep better, which is one reason they're favored in supermarkets. It's also braidable, which is impossible with the hardnecks. Bottom line, if you want scapes, you need to be growing hardneck garlic. Local nurseries may have seed stock during the fall planting season; there are also plenty of seed garlic sources online. Or just buy something you like from the farmer's market and plant that.
I hope that helps!