Botanical name: Allium schoenoprasum
Life cycle: Bulb-forming herbaceous perennial.
Native: Europe, Asia. Nauralized in North America.
Bloom time: May to June.
Christopher Lloyd says, "they are eye catching plants, well deserving a front line position in any border and making the greatest display in May."
Mild onion flavor. One of the famous fines herbes of French cuisine; said to stimulate the appetite and strengthen the stomach.
The degree of difficulty: Easy. Described as a "gateway herb" as in one of the easiest to grow; which encourages us to grow more herbs. One of the 1st to be seen in the cool spring garden.
Uses: Classic for potato salad, omelets. Lloyd enjoys the young shoots on a thin sandwich filled with a mix of cream cheese and chives, salt & pepper.
Single florets of Chives are pretty and delicious when scattered in a green salad.
They are also an ingredient of the gräddfil sauce with the traditional herring dish served at Swedish midsummer celebrations.
Companion planting: Chives improve growth and flavor of carrots and tomatoes.
After the danger of frost is passed, plant seeds in furrows in the garden or broadcast them where the plants are to grow into typical Chive clumps.
All members of the Allium family benefit from full sun and rich soil.
Clumps will last c. five years and then should be lifted and reset. If clumps are cut back after flowering and then fertilized, new spears will come up in autumn.
When the ground freezes, they will go into dormancy to store up for new growth.
Likes fertile, well-drained soil. Harvesting leaves of the plant, if grown from seed, should be left alone until July, in the 1st year, to allow a good root system to develop.
If they are grown in pots, it is advised to keep them out of the hot sun.
History: Chives are one of the most ancient of all herbs; the first record goes back 4,000 years to China, when Marco Polo reported to the West, his culinary appreciation of chives.
Chives are a cultivated crop in Holland, Germany, and China. Dutch farmers used to feed their cows chives in order to produce milk with a fresh flavor.
|Fresh seeds for sale at the Gatehouse,|
Squaw Bay Road, Shaw Island.
Favorite reference for this post on Chives.
Willow Creek Press. 1997.