Our 2020 Garlic Scape Experiment

Although we want to grow lots of bulbils every year, the theory behind scape removal was so intriguing that we decided to test it. We grow 68 varieties of garlic in our collection, and 55 of those produce bulbils (the other thirteen are softnecks that don't bloom where our main collection is grown in Ontario). We grow 24 plants of each variety, which gives enough to replant, plus a lot of bulbils. In each plot, we removed the scapes from half of the plants in June, leaving the other 12 to grow bulbils all the way until harvest in August. Then when we harvested the bulbs we put the scapes-off and scapes-on bulbs in separate bags, let them cure, cleaned off the soil and roots, and weighed them.

That was a lot of extra work, and thanks to our volunteers and garden partners who helped!

The result: on average the bulbs that had scapes removed were 23% heavier than those that had grown up all the way with scapes on.

That was less of an average than we had expected, because previous ad-hoc measurements had shown a much larger difference. But the average here is deceiving. Some varieties had increases of 50-60% and one was more than double-sized with the scapes removed. However, 16 varieties actually grew smaller without the scapes. That defies the common-sense principle that the plant divides its growth, and it happened in too many separate measurements to seem like a simple error.

So we'll try it again, and keep asking questions. Like:

  • Do the same variations in size happen the same way every year?
  • Is there some common trait among the varieties that grew larger or smaller? e.g. the category of garlic, or structure of the scape?
  • Does weather play a factor in how garlic responds to having scapes removed?

 

 

Scapes removed

 

Scapes not removed

 

Avg cloves / bulb

 

Scapes removed

Scapes not removed

Difference

 

grams

#

grams

#

 

 

 

 

 

Acropolis Greek

70

4

29

4

8

 

17.5

7.3

239.73%

Armenian Porcelain

44

2

96

6

4

 

22

16

137.50%

Baba Franchuk's

315

8

94

3

8

 

39.4

31.3

125.88%

Belarus

162

9

101

4

8

 

18

25.3

71.15%

Beletic Croatian

242

5

245

7

4

 

48.4

35

138.29%

Bogatyr

212

6

207

5

5

 

35.3

41.4

85.27%

BP Roja

14

1

26

3

6

 

14

8.7

160.92%

Brown Rose

197

6

144

5

5

 

32.8

28.8

113.89%

Brown Tempest

88

5

91

7

7

 

17.6

13

135.38%

California 98

146

8

soft

soft

8

 

18.3

 

 

California Early

369

13

soft

soft

9

 

28.4

 

 

California Late

127

6

120

6

7

 

21.2

20

106.00%

Cedar Creek

262

5

237

7

9

 

52.4

33.9

154.57%

Central Siberian

172

5

230

6

4

 

34.4

38.3

89.82%

Chesnuk Red

171

5

182

7

9

 

34.2

26

131.54%

Chet's Italian

151

6

123

6

6

 

25.2

20.5

122.93%

Chiloe

230

6

214

6

4

 

38.3

35.7

107.28%

Chinese

279

6

221

6

6

 

46.5

36.8

126.36%

Chinese 2

110

4

100

7

9

 

27.5

14.3

192.31%

Endurance

203

6

soft

soft

8

 

33.8

 

 

Fauquier

170

4

151

4

5

 

42.5

37.8

112.43%

Fish Lake 4 Italian

154

4

133

6

6

 

38.5

22.2

173.42%

Fish Lake 23

398

10

soft

soft

6

 

39.8

 

 

French Red

173

6

116

6

7

 

28.8

19.3

149.22%

Gaia's Joy

261

12

soft

soft

5

 

21.8

 

 

Georgian Crystal

186

6

146

6

4

 

31

24.3

127.57%

German Red

118

5

88

4

10

 

23.6

22

107.27%

German Stiffneck

284

6

266

6

5

 

47.3

44.3

106.77%

Inchelium Red

262

8

soft

soft

12

 

32.8

 

 

Khabar

271

6

201

5

6

 

45.2

40.2

112.44%

Kiev

278

5

246

4

8

 

55.6

61.5

90.41%

Killarney

252

6

259

6

8

 

42

43.2

97.22%

Korean Purple

244

7

184

5

9

 

34.9

36.8

94.84%

Korean Red

0

soft

soft

soft

10

 

 

 

 

Lavigna

172

4

221

8

8

 

43

27.6

155.80%

Legacy

212

6

273

7

8

 

35.3

39

90.51%

Leningrad

187

5

292

7

4

 

37.4

41.7

89.69%

Limburg

115

7

soft

soft

5

 

16.4

 

 

Lokalen

367

12

soft

soft

14

 

30.6

 

 

Lorz Italian

368

12

soft

soft

12

 

30.7

 

 

Lukak

218

5

165

5

6

 

43.6

33

132.12%

Malpasse

219

6

216

6

5

 

36.5

36

101.39%

Mediterranean

52

4

71

7

7

 

13

10.1

128.71%

Mennonite

156

3

270

8

6

 

52

33.8

153.85%

Metechi

108

6

160

6

7

 

18

26.7

67.42%

Mother of Pearl

98

6

95

6

7

 

16.3

15.8

103.16%

Music

330

5

321

6

6

 

66

53.5

123.36%

Persian Star

121

5

112

6

8

 

24.2

18.7

129.41%

Portugal Azores 1

211

6

212

5

5

 

35.2

42.4

83.02%

Purple Glazer

155

6

118

5

9

 

25.8

23.6

109.32%

Puslinch

285

6

210

6

9

 

47.5

35

135.71%

Pyong Vang Korean

87

6

61

4

5

 

14.5

15.3

94.77%

Racey

122

6

65

5

7

 

20.3

13

156.15%

Railway Creek

144

4

117

5

8

 

36

23.4

153.85%

Red Janice

67

4

20

1

6

 

16.8

20

84.00%

Red Rezan

28

6

24

5

6

 

4.7

4.8

97.92%

Russian

233

6

272

6

8

 

38.8

45.3

85.65%

Russian Giant

187

6

194

6

4

 

31.2

32.3

96.59%

Saltspring

180

6

161

6

8

 

30

26.8

111.94%

Shatilli

115

6

79

6

8

 

19.2

13.2

145.45%

Siberian

213

6

91

6

6

 

35.5

15.2

233.55%

Sicilian

192

4

165

6

8

 

48

27.5

174.55%

Simonetti

205

7

soft

soft

12

 

29.3

 

 

Slovak

57

2

102

4

6

 

28.5

25.5

111.76%

Slovak Red

161

11

soft

soft

8

 

14.6

 

 

Susanville

378

10

soft

soft

12

 

37.8

 

 

Wild Buff

148

6

123

6

4

 

24.7

20.5

120.49%

Yugoslavian

350

6

225

5

5

 

58.3

45

129.56%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Average:

123.14%