Chives belong to the onion family. You can cultivate this vegetable in your garden because they take up little space. You can eat the whole chive plant from top to bottom. Also, you can use the bulbs of the plant as onions and the leaves in flavorings or salads. The flowers of this plant give a color splash to salads. In this article, we will tell you how to grow chives.
Chives have two main varieties. They are Chinese chives and garlic. You can cultivate both of them in the same way. It is important to know that Chinese chive grows a bit slower than garlic. It usually has an added garlic flavor. You will find many other varieties of chives. However, they are genetically engineered verities with fine leaves. The seeds of GMO chives are inexpensive.
Conditions for growing chives
Chives grow in moist soil and require full or partial sunlight. The harvesting time is three months. Research shows that it is easy to grow chives in all types of soils. The ideal soil is the one that consists of organic material or compost.
It is important to work in two bone-meal per yard. These plants are not greedy feeders. Therefore, it is not essential to feed them throughout the year. However, for this, you need to prepare the soil well.
Partial shade or full sun is suitable for the growth of chives. These plants are likewise tolerant of drought. Also, you need to avoid planting the seeds in dry places. Before growing the chives, you need to consider the favorable conditions.
Chives look similar to onions. The behavior of both plants is almost the same. Both plants have bulbous roots and green leaves. Chive bulbs multiply rapidly over a period of time, which provides a simple method of propagation.
It is important to dig up the bulbs’ clump in March or October. Make sure you have separate bulbs. The next step is to replant the bulb tips with the soil surface. This propagation method is good for the growth of chives as it is good for easing congestion in the bulbs.
Moreover, it is easy to grow chives from seeds. The only thing you need is to sow some seeds indoors in the pot that contains compost. March is the best time to sow the seeds. The compost you add to the potting soil must be moist.
You will see the appearance of the seedlings in 7 to 10 days. Once you have the seedlings, you can transfer them outside and sow them in 8 inches or 10-centimeter soil between each plant.
How to take care of chives?
- Taking care of chives is not difficult, if you have prepared the soil well, then you don’t need to do anything else. You will see the chives are growing easily without requiring any effort from you.
- Chives are almost disease-free plants. The only thing they require is regular watering. If the soil is moist, you don’t even need to water these plants. Chives rarely suffer from onion fly. However, this occurs mainly when you plant the seeds near onions.
- Therefore, you must not plant chives near onions to avoid this problem. Chives are evergreen plants, which means their leaves remain green in winters. In some areas where the temperature falls below 5 degrees Celsius, the leaves will die back.
- You must not worry about the leaves because the colder climate will not disturb the roots. This means the roots are alive and you can start new growth after the winter ends.
How to harvest chives?
Harvesting chives is an easy method. You need to cut the leaves of the chive plant with scissors when needed. Start cutting the outside leaves and slowly move to the inner leaves. It is important to leave 5 cm of leaves remaining.
You will see that the leaves of chives will grow back quickly and this why you need to cut them a few times in the growing season.
Experts recommend leaving alone the plants that grow from seeds. However, you can remove the flower heads. Do this until July to allow the establishment of a nice root system.
Chives can produce a large number of flowers in the late spring. These are purple. You will see the second wave in June and July. Remove the flowers if you intend to grow chives for eating purposes.
If you leave them, they will restrict the growth of leaves. On the other hand, if you need flowers for eating, it is imperative to keep a few chive plants separately for this purpose.
When you see the flowers are fading, then cut the whole plant to 2 inches or 5cm from ground level. This way, you can get a second set of flowers and leaves.
The chive’s bulbs are edible as mild onions. Experts don’t recommend this. In contrast, the flowers are edible and you can add them to salads.
The heads of the flower are a mass of small-size flowers, which you can separate and add them to the salad. Moreover, the stalk of the chive is also edible. However, it is a bit tasteless and tough to eat. We recommend you throw it away.
How to grow chives in containers?
- You can grow chives in containers easily. The container culture highly suits chives. They will grow adequately in potting compost.
- There is minimal or no care required throughout the year. If you think the compost is drying, then you can water the plant. You can also feed them with liquid plant food every month in the growing season.
- Besides, the severe front can affect the container-grown chives. Therefore, in winter, we recommend you to transfer the containers somewhere close to the house. For example, the house walls is a good place where you can protect the containers from frosts.
Chives are nutritious plants. You can eat them in uncooked or raw form. If you cook them, they will lose their flavor. Also, if you want to use chives with cooked food, we recommend you to add them into the recipe or dish after cooking.
You can store chive in different ways. One effective method is to chop the leaves into half an inch or 1cm lengths and then place those leaves in containers that contain ice cubes.
Don’t forget to add some water. The next step is to freeze chives. Whenever you need to use them, just defrost the ice cubes and get them back.
You can use chives to add flavor to a wide range of food items. This is why these plants are popular for adding flavors, e.g. to baked potatoes with yogurt or butter. Chives likewise go well with egg dishes, vegetables, dressings, salads, stews, baked fish, and broiled poultry.
If you want to grow chives adequately, you need to follow the guidelines given above. Again, they are easy to grow and do not require a lot of attention. You just need to prepare the compost or soil and water the plants regularly.
Lastly, it is important to take care of the plants in winter seasons and watch for the temperature. When it goes below 5 degrees Celsius, it can eliminate the leaves.