Growing Chives

July 4, 2010 § Leave a comment

Chives (Allium schoenoprasum L.) resembles hollow blades of grass, and is the smallest member of the onion family. Native to Asia and Eastern Europe, by the sixteenth century chives were common plants in herb gardens throughout Europe.

Their distinctive smell and taste is derived from a volatile oil, rich in sulphur and common to the onion family, but milder and more subtle in chives.

Chives grow in clumps from underground bulbs. In June or July, chives produce large round flower heads consisting of purple to pink flowers.

We grow them the whole year around …

Sowing

When I left Amsterdam, my mom gave me some Chives-To-Go. I now sowed some more. Chive seed germinates easily, but slowly.

Maintenance

Chives grow best in full sun in a moist soil high in organic matter ~ pH between 6 and 8. But, chives tolerate partial shade and most soil types. Chives should be kept well watered and weeded.

Chives can be be propagated by dividing large clumps into smaller clumps of about 5 bulbs each at any time during the growing season.

Harvesting

Look for slender green chives with a uniform green color and no signs of wilting or browning. Do not cut all leaves of a clump of plants at one time. This allows that clump of plants to be cut over and over again throughout the growing season.

Remedies

This herb has similar, albeit less potent medicinal properties as garlic. Chives can be used for the control of high blood pressure and for improving blood circulation. The presence of organisulphide compounds such as alkyl sulfoxides and allyl sulphides in chives make the treatment of high blood pressure possible.

Chives can be used to relieve pain caused by a sore throat. It can also serve against common cold.

Chives were used by the Romans to cure sunburns. It should however be taken in large amounts for the benefits to be seen.

Growing chives repels unwanted insect life, so the juices from the leaves can be used for repelling insects such as mosquitoes and aphids. They can also be used to fight fungal infections, mildew and scab.

The oil has antibacterial properties.

Recipes containing chives

Chives are usually used fresh and are a common addition to baked potatoes, cream soups, and egg dishes.

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