Garlic Chives: Tips For Sowing, Planting And Harvesting
Growing garlic chives in the garden are easy and promising. We reveal what to consider when sowing chives and how to harvest them correctly.
Garlic chives ( Allium tuberosum ) is the perfect herb for those who do not want to miss the aromatic taste of garlic but do not feel like its strong smell. Because chives leave no typical garlic odor in the mouth or on the fingers. In addition, the herb is extremely easy to care for and not only thrives in the garden bed, but also in the pot on the windowsill or in the balcony box. The plant can be used well in the kitchen and is also nice to look at, as it forms fine, white flowers that have a delicate scent all summer long. In this article, we will tell you everything about the origin, the correct sowing, the care, the propagation, the harvest, and the use of chives.
Garlic chives: origin and properties
Chives are also called garlic-chives (Knolau), Chinese chives, or Chinese leeks and belong to the genus of leek ( Allium ). It is therefore closely related to chives ( Allium schoenoprasum ), leeks ( Allium porrum ), or onions ( Allium cepa ). The aromatic herb probably originally came from China, but it grows wild in most parts of tropical Asia. Nowadays, chives are cultivated and highly valued almost all over the world.
In terms of appearance and growth, chives are very reminiscent of chives. The stalks are a bit wider and bigger overall. It is a perennial herbaceous plant that can grow up to 80 centimeters in height. It forms small bulbs similar to onions that are white. The stalks are flat, 1.5 to 8 millimeters wide, and green. The star-shaped, white flower umbels bloom from June to September and attract numerous insects.
Chive garlic varieties
Basically, you can’t go wrong when choosing a variety of chives. The varieties differ mainly in the height and the thickness of the stalks. A small overview of varieties gives you an idea of which varieties are worth growing:
- ‘Fat Leaf’: As the name suggests, the stalks are wide and thick
- ‘Kiss me’: Particularly wide stalks
- ‘Knolau’: Up to 50 centimeters high, strong-growing
- ‘Monstrosum’: Up to 80 centimeters high
- ‘Neko’: Forms flat, broad stalks with a fine aroma
- ‘Pink Garlic Chives’: As the name suggests, it has pink flowers and broad, juicy leaves
- ‘Sapras’: high yielding and aromatic
- ‘Shiva’: Grows to a height of 30 centimeters, is very vigorous and productive
- ‘Wagner’s Kobold’: Thin, aromatic stalks
When growing chives, of course, sowing them is the first step. In the following sections, we will answer when, where, and how you can best sow chives.
You might so like: Vietnamese Coriander – How Do You Use, Care And Growing
The right location for garlic chives
The herb from China feels right at home both in the garden bed and in the pot. It thrives best in full sun to sunny locations. It is ideal if the plant is fully exposed to the sun for half the day, but it can still cope with partially shaded locations. The chives, on the other hand, do not want to be completely in the shade. The soil should be rich in humus and nutrients. In addition, the tasty herb loves evenly moist soil. However, it cannot cope with waterlogging.
Where to sow chives?
- Full sun to a sunny location
- Humous and nutrient-rich soil
- Evenly moist
- No waterlogging
This is how to plant chive garlic seeds
The garlic chives can be sown either in pots under glass, on the windowsill, or later, directly outside. The best time to start pulling forward is from the end of March. You can then plant the pre-grown plants in the garden bed from mid-May. Direct sowing in the bed can be done from April to August.
When to sow chives?
- Move forward from the end of March
- Plant early plants outdoors from mid-May
- From April to August outdoors
The advantage of growing in pots on the windowsill or under glass has the advantage that you can start sowing earlier and harvest the first tasty stalks faster. For sowing, which is perfectly tailored to the requirements of chives and offers the herb the best conditions for ideal growth.
Sow chives in the pot:
- Fill the growing pots with soil
- Plant spacing: 30 x 25 cm
- Cover with a 1 cm thick layer of earth
- Pouring on
- Germination time: 14 – 28 days
- Ideal germination temperature: 18 – 20 ° C
- Keep evenly moist
- After the seeds have sprouted, isolate them if necessary
When the early plants are large enough and the planters are fully rooted, it is time to plant the garlic chives. This can be done either in the garden bed or in a pot.
You might so like: Fertilize Rosemary: Professional Tips On Timing And Procedure
Alternatively, you can sow your garlic chives directly in the field. To do this, simply follow the instructions below:
- Prepare the bed: loosen the soil well, remove weeds
- Create seed grooves
- Seed depth: 2 cm
- Row spacing: 30 – 40 cm
- Plant spacing: 25 cm
- Cover the seed with soil
- Water well
- Keep well moist until the seeds come up
You can easily propagate chives yourself. The easiest and most promising way to do this is by division.
Multiplying chives by division at a glance:
- Plants must be at least 3 years old to divide
- In spring or autumn
- Dig up the chive garlic plant
- Divide the plant into 2 or 3 parts by hand
- Carefully loosen parts from each other (if necessary with secateurs or spade)
- Water well
Of course, watering and fertilizing are part of the care of chives. The tasty herb likes it evenly moist, which is why you should always check the soil and water it if necessary. It is also important to keep the bed in which the chives grow free of weeds. This can be achieved through regular weeding or through a layer of mulch or undersowing. It is best to fertilize with a fertilizer with a natural long-term effect, or alternatively with compost. These two sources of nutrients are sustainable and provide your plant with everything it needs to grow in the long term.
How do I care for chives?
- Keep evenly moist
- Weed removal by weeding, mulching, or undersowing
- Fertilize in spring and June
You might so like: Ginger Root: Expert Tips For Planting, Harvesting, And Storing
Quite a few gardeners are certainly wondering: is chive garlic hardy? The simple answer to this question is a resounding yes. Chives are perennial. Hibernating chives is therefore not a problem. Temperatures down to minus 20 ° C do not mind the herb. In the spring it will sprout again on its own and you will enjoy the popular culinary herb for many years.
How do I overwinter garlic chives?
- Chives are perennial
- Winter hardy down to -20 ° C
Harvesting garlic chives and preserving them
A big advantage of chives: they can be used almost all year round.
When and how do I harvest garlic chives?
- Harvest time: spring to autumn
- Garlic chives in a pot on the windowsill can even be harvested all year round
- Use scissors or a sharp knife to harvest
- Cut the stalks 2 fingers wide above the ground
- The flowers of the cut garlic are edible and can be harvested
Unfortunately, once your chives have been harvested, they only stay fresh for two to three days. It can also be kept in a glass with water or in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator. It is therefore advisable to only harvest as much as can be used fresh. Of course, you also have various options for preserving the herb. For example, you can easily freeze your chives. Other methods are soaking in salt or in oil and vinegar. And garlic chives also last a long time as pesto and are also delicious. Drying garlic chives is not recommended, however. It loses almost all of its aroma as a result of drying.
You might so like: Mugwort Plant: How To Grow, Harvest And Use
Storing chives and making them durable at a glance:
- At best, only harvest as much freshly as can be used
- Put fresh straws in a water glass
- Alternatively, wrap in a damp kitchen towel and store in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator
- Preserve chives by freezing them
- Soak in salt
- As a pesto
- Soak in vinegar and oil
- Garlic chives are not suitable for drying
Use of garlic chives
For those of you who are new to the herb, the following question may arise: How do I actually use garlic chives? Chives can be used in many ways in the kitchen: they taste good in herbal quark, in salads, in soups, for seasoning and refining hearty dishes, or as a decoration and for serving dishes. Or try fresh garlic chives on a delicious sandwich. The small onions can be steamed and used as spring onions. The garlic chives are also edible. You can enjoy them as a decoration or in salads, for example.
The best thing about chopped garlic: unlike real garlic, the herb does not leave an odor in the mouth. And last but not least, the question: is garlic chives healthy? It contains a lot of the substance allicin – just like in other leek plants. Allicin strengthens the immune system against bacteria and viruses and is also said to help lower blood sugar levels.