If you like to use the flavor of onions in your cooking you will definitely benefit from growing chives. The word chive means onion in Latin. This useful herb is a perennial plant so you can enjoy chives each year. Chives are a hardy plant and there are uses for every part of the herb.
Chives were one of the discoveries Marco Polo brought back from his travels to China. The Chinese have been cultivating chives for their cuisine for centuries. Chinese chive is a less common variety with a slight scent of garlic. The herb grows wild in most parts of the world. Not hard to please, the plant can tolerate most soil types, and produce in partial shade or full sun.
Growing chives in full sunlight and rich, well-drained soil produces healthy plants to dress up any herb garden with their purple tops. From planting time to harvest, you can have fresh chives on your dinner plate in three months.
Tips for growing chives
Growing chives is relatively simple. You can purchase chive plants from a nursery or buy seed packets. Chives, Allium schoenoprasum, are best grown by separating the bulbs of existing plants and replanting. The herb plants should be planted about nine inches apart.
Growing chives indoors or outside
Chives, known for its hardiness, can be grown inside or outdoors with ease after it has germinated. [This is like a plant’s graduation.] Chives perform best in soil that is moist, although you should take care and not over water. Start your seedlings with an average quality potting soil mixture in empty egg cartons. After the herbs sprout several inches, you can transplant the growing chives into larger containers.
Chive seeds can be started outside in the spring using well-prepared soil. Plant the chives seeds in rows at least twelve inches apart. When the chives sprout, they resemble blades of grass. Keep chives weeded but watch out you do not pull the wrong plant!
Benefits of growing chives
Chives have high levels of vitamin A and C and essential minerals. Another healthy benefit to growing chives in your garden, it helps keep away undesirable seedy characters such as plant lice, apple scab, and mildew.
Growing chives is an ideal decorative edging for a flowerbed. When the chive’s purple flowers begin to appear, select a few chive clumps to use for garnish.
The bulbs can be pulled up and used like onions for their subtle flavor. Simply chop the chive bulbs and use as you would small green onions.
Trim off flower heads to allow for vigorous new growth of leaves. When growing chives for seasoning, wait until the leaves have grown about three inches. Select a leaf and trim it down to about an inch. Repeat this until you have enough fresh chives for the dish you are preparing.
Growing chives for recipes
Fresh chives go well with a variety of dishes from salads to meat. Soups perk up when you add chives on top. Chives mixed with sour cream makes a delicious dip. Spuds and chives are a tasty combination. This herb sprinkled on a baked potato always hits the spot. Add chives to mashed potatoes for an extra kick in flavor.
This helpful herb is never out of place on a kitchen windowsill. Growing chives is absolutely no trouble. The herb takes up very little space, and the whole plant can be eaten, so there is no waste. Have fresh chives on hand when you need a dash of the flavorful herb.
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