Garlic Chives are also known as Chinese Chives or Chinese Leek. They are similar in appearance to ordinary chives but with a flatter broader leaf and a mild sweet garlic flavour. Garlic Chives have beautiful white ‘starry’ allium flowers that would not go amiss in the flower garden. These flowers are also edible with a mild garlic taste and are loved by bees & butterflies.
Garlic Chives are perennial and the ‘cut & come’ again leaves benefit from snipping regularly to encourage new growth but do leave some to flower. These herbs are used extensively in Oriental cooking adding flavour to lots of dishes like stir fries, soups, omelettes and as garnishes to salads. They also make great micro-greens & baby leaves.
Garlic Chives are a real winner not only edible leaves and flowers but pretty enough for the flower garden & food for beneficial insects.
When to Sow: March-May.
How to Sow: Direct sow seeds in pre-watered drills 12mm deep, in rows 30cm apart, lightly cover with fine soil. Germination takes 10-15 days. When large enough thin seedlings to every 15cm. Alternatively sow under glass & keep at a temperature of about 20C. Pot on & then plant out in late spring. Plant at 15cm intervals.
Care: Keep watered. After a couple of years chives like to be divided in March or October, as it stops the bulbs becoming congested and less productive. Just divide up a clump into smaller clumps and pot up straight away – new plants for free. Although it is a perennial evergreen in very cold winters it may die back, but will regrow in spring, a thick layer of mulch around the plant in autumn may help.
Harvest: 10 weeks from spring sowings onwards. As a perennial they will be ready to pick from year to year from April to October and if a plant is potted up in September – it can be picked for a further 6 weeks. Just cut the chives with sharp scissors leaving 5cm of chive leaf, cut the outside leaves first and work inwards as more chives required and they will regrow.