In my last post on harvesting 2nd year bulbils I referred to different types of garlic. One of the ways to tell different garlic types apart is by their garlic scapes.
There are two garlic subspecies
- hard-neck garlic (Allium sativum ophioscorodon)
- soft-neck garlic (Allium sativum sativum)
This refers to whether a garlic produces a hard stem topped with a garlic scape. Whether a garlic bolts or not also depends greatly on winter temperatures. Our Quebec winters are cold (regular night time lows between -20 to -30 degree celsius) and all hard-necks have always bolted in my experience. This weather also stresses soft-neck garlics and causes some to bolt and produce their own types of scapes.
Each garlic subspecies is further broken down into different varieties (what I often call types.)
According to Gourmet Garlic Gardens, there are 8 hard-neck varieties and 2 soft-enck varieties. Not all of these varieties thrive in Quebec.
Let’s look at the scapes of some the garlic varieties we grow at Tourne-Sol farm. I have tried to include pictures of both immature and mature scapes.
Hardneck – Porcelain Garlic
Long and skinny. Porcelain garlic was the first I grew. I think of their scapes as the standard when I compare other varieties.
Porcelain scapes whiten as they mature.
And burst open with small pink bulbils and green flower parts!
Hardneck – Rocambole
Shorter curved beak and paler spathe (the swollen base) than the Porcelain scape.
A mature white spathe also.
Medium sized purple bulbils inside.
Hardneck – Marbled Purple Stripe
The red blush at the bottom of the scape distinguishes these from Porcelain garlic.
The spathe is a light green.
Softneck – Artichoke
When Artichoke garlic bolts, it usually produces neck bulbils just above the ground.
This year, many Artichoke garlic produced scapes. They might have been stressed by the lack of winter snow-cover insulation.
Softneck – Silver Skin
A semi-mature Silverskin scape. Smaller and paler than a porcelain garlic.
More garlic pictures to come!
We’re about to harvest a lot of garlic over the next week. As the bulbs cure, I will post about some of the below ground and taste differences between all these garlic varieties.