Scapes on Scapes on Scapes!



The last week and a half here at GBP we’ve been harvesting garlic scapes like crazy. They’ve been quite popular this year at market. Whether you like them in your mashed potatoes or in a pesto be sure to get some for yourself soon from Kalamazoo farm because they won’t stay tender much longer out in the field.

We like to leave a few scapes on our garlic plants because eventually the scape straightens out and produces a topset on the garlic plant. Each scape makes a number of very small garlic “bulbils” which can be harvested, planted and after two years will produce a full head of garlic.

Many crops are off to a great start. Right now we’ve got zucchini, radishes, peas, spring onions all ready to harvest. Our green, yellow and “Dragon’s Tongue” beans are not far behind.

Costata Romanesco

Costata Romanesco

In other Garlic Brothers news we decided to expand our field some this year. The land we opened up has not been farmed on for a very long time from what we know, so we are going to have a lot of roots and weeds to contend with. We laid our rows with black plastic to help keep the weeds down and planted it with hot peppers, sweet peppers, melons, purple tomatillos, cucumbers and squash. We will have to see what competes best!

New Back Field


Check back soon for more updates and pictures. The pace of this season has been awkward at times, but I think we’ve made a few improvements this year that are going to allow us to use our acre more efficiently and bring more vegetables to market etc.

I leave you with my favorite picture so far from this season.

Toady and the Squash

Toady and the Squash



  • Kalamazoo Bank St. Farmer’s Market is less than a week away! May 2nd, 7am-2pm (
  • Our stall faces the stage and courtyard, so it’s easy to find us. Come say hello, Britt will be there with a few starter plants and a small array of veggies.


Britt and I transplanted some beets today. We tried this last year, and it worked with great success, yields were better than direct seeding, and the plants outcompeted weeds more easily.



We start many of our plants in various sizes of plug flats, sometimes known by the amount of small cells per tray, such as a 288 or a 105. Transplanting from these flats prevents loss in the field from poor germination, since we can control the environment better indoors. In the middle of the coldest day in April, you walk into a humid, active greenhouse and you have entered a different world.

The fields that had their fall rye cover crop on them have been tilled under. Cover crops are one of the simplest ways to improve your soil. Rye provides nutrients after it’s been tilled under, and is a green manure by decomposing into organic material that makes the soil a healthier, more attractive place for other organisms like worms and fungi to live. Most of our fields get rye in the fall because it’s the cheapest cover crop seed we’ve found, but I’m sure that there are better. We know farmers who do nothing and we know some who plant odd stuff like daikon radish and vetch.

Last year, we left some of our garlic scapes on until they exploded into seed flowers. It’s pretty cool, and you get a bunch of bulbils, which are essentially garlic cloves the size of a small seed, like a sunflower seed. These bulbils are planted the same fall after harvest, or in the spring. We’re experimenting because we had more than expected. Just yesterday I found some the made their way to the ground last fall, and have sprouted up as small garlic plants.


These things are packed with garlic flavor. Very similar to ‘green garlic’ that is older and larger than these. You can see at the very base of the plants the thin roots connected to a small bulb, like a scallion. Garlic growers will leave these bulbils in the ground all summer and harvest with their other crop, cure and save the seed again (for a second year) and plant. This two year process is integral for some garlic farmers because they always have a source of quality, diverse seed stock.


Happy end of April, our last frost date is nearing. The National Weather Service is calling for a light frost early Tuesday (4/28) morning, but the rest of this week looks frost-free. If I remember correctly, we’re about 1.5 – 2 weeks earlier than last season. Woohoo!

Our Garlic



DSCN2846Our garlic is looking good. We had some of our Music variety get a late germination, but for the most part, everything overwintered fine.

Things to look for when inspecting garlic after winter: color, size, leaf shape, germination, and uniformity.

A healthy seed stock in the fall will prevent issues in the spring. If your garlic is misshapen, curled, gnarled, is very yellow or burnt, or maybe did not germinate at all, these are all effects from a possible bad stock.

For example: We had an old, rare ‘Pennsylvania Heritage’ variety that looked weak from the farmer we bought it from. We suspected Allium Maggots after finding some damage on cloves. At risk of infecting some of our other stock, we decided to plant the garlic in 2013. The next year, the crop underperformed as expected but we had harvested more healthy stock to plant again by using a natural fertilizer for commercial use

A good thing to do in the spring, as we’ve found, is provide garlic with more nutrients than it actually needs. Garlic is understood as a plant that likes to be in really fertile soil, but uses little food. A good start goes a long way.

More on this later in the week,



New Website!

Garlic Bros. are back for the 2015 season.

We have some new things going on all the time, and will be updating this space as the season moves on.

Green garlic in May, scapes in June, heads in late July.

Here are some photos from last week in the greenhouses and planting onion sets.

We love what’s going on outside right now.