Growing some garlic and worried that something has gone wrong? Knowing what to expect from all the different garlic growth stages will really help you out, so here is my complete guide (with accompanying photos) to the different stages of garlic growth.
Garlic Growth Stages
Let’s have a look at all the different stages of growing garlic below.
A few weeks after planting your young garlic plants will start to poke their heads above the soil. looks for fairly thick green shoots.
As your plant starts to establish itself it will look like the below. These will be quite thin and spindly but should be a nice dark green and also should be growing rapidly.
Scapes are curly growths on a garlic plant. They are a flower head that will eventually uncurl and grow a very pretty flower which, with onions being of the same family makes a lot of sense, and looks very much like an ornamental allium.
Scapes should be removed when small as if allowed to grow the plant will put its energy into flowering rather than developing a larger bulb. Some people like to let them grow to get a larger scape for harvest but then you do sacrifice bulb size.
Scapes can be eaten fresh and are actually coveted by many gardeners.
Soft neck varieties will not develop a scape so if you are growing a soft neck variety then you won’t get this stage of growth.
Harvesting Green Garlic (Young Garlic)
Young garlic can be harvested long before it would be traditionally classed as ready, this is commonly known as green garlic.
You harvest the plants early, often around may, a true bulb won’t have been developed and the plant looks much more like a leek than garlic.
You eat the entire plant, which is why it doesn’t matter that the bulb hasn’t developed.
It has a much more delicate and almost sweet flavour when compared to regular garlic, I highly recommend trying it out.
Harvesting Fully Mature Garlic
Your garlic is fully mature and ready to harvest when the leaves start yellowing and the plant in general starts to look a bit untidy and unhealthy.
The photo below is the kind of thing you are looking for, if these were ornamental flowers in your bed then you would be removing them as they don’t look particularly attractive.
If you don’t get rid of your garlic scapes and the plant does flower then this is what it will look like.
The flowers are actually really nice and are loved by bees, just don’t let them scatter around the garden as each flower head has hundreds of seeds in it!