Saturday, February 10, 2018

Add chives to your garden

Common chives in bloom in spring

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Chives are a perennial herb that comes back year after year.  They are great to use in salads or as a topping on just about any dish.  You can grow from seed or buy a plant at your neighborhood big box store or nursery.  They are a care free herb.

Chives are part of the onion family, an allium so has all the great health benefits of onions.  Chives and onions have traditionally been used as an antibacterial, cancer preventer, cancer fighter, and even a sore throat properties.  Recent studies have confirmed the medicinal properties.

Chives originated in Asia and were first eaten by the Chinese.  Chives have been used for over 5000 years.  Early American colonists brought chives with them to start in their new gardens.

Chives will grow 18-24" tall.  There is the common chive and also the garlic chives.  The common chive has an onion flavor and, as it name suggests, the garlic chive has a nice garlic flavor.  

To use, just snip an inch or two above the ground and use fresh.  I have tried using chives in cooked dishes and they just become woody.  Go ahead and garnish the cooked dish with fresh chives.  Not only looks pretty, but adds  nice flavor.

Garlic chives in bloom in the fall

Chives are super easy to grow.  I think the easiest thing to do is buy a plant in the spring.  Since they come back year after year, you only have to buy one plant for your garden.  Just plant and watch it grow.   Every few years, if it is super happy with its spot in the garden, it may need to be divided to keep it vigorous.

The only watch out with chives is that they are super self-seeders.  If you don't remove their flowers when they start to dry, you will have lots and lots of new little chive plants!  You can either just snip the flowers off when they start to dry or snip them when they are fresh and use as you would the green leaves.  The flowers tend to have a stronger flavor than the leaves.  

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