Garlic chives (allium tuberosum) is a plant that is characterized by a distinct flowering pattern. It has leaves that are strap-shaped and end into a wide bunch of white flowers. The stalk is taller than the leaves and the overall appearance of the plant makes it an excellent choice for a garden. But that is not all that this plant has to offer. Garlic chives are used as an excellent flavoring herb as well and they have been used in Asian cuisine as a very popular ingredient.
What makes this plant special (and the name itself gives it away) is the fact that this plant has the flavors of both, chives and garlic. Though it has been said that it is inclined more towards the flavors of garlic than it is to chives, the flavors are not overriding, they are rather mild―and therefore makes for a great chives substitute. Which is why people who do not have a taste for very strong garlic or onion flavors can easily opt for cooking with garlic chives and still enjoy a little zing in their dishes. Another advantage is that it can be easily cultivated for usage. In the following sections, we will get into the details of how to grow garlic chives.
Garlic chives can be harvested from the seeds and are known to crop over quite fast. That is why there is a need to monitor their growth and mark the location in which they are planted. If scattered aimlessly throughout a yard, they can flower all over as well. And though the seeds can develop from scratch, some people prefer to germinate them before planting. To do this, one can store them in the refrigerator for a week. This encourages germination. After they start to germinate, the garlic chive plants should be shifted to a soil base. This can either be done in pots or directly in a garden.
Soil and Sun
There are certain select conditions that are required for the proper growth of these plants. They prefer slightly acidic soil that has a pH balance of 6.2 - 6.8. If the fertility of the soil is high, it lends to better growth. A high content of organic matter needs to be added to the soil before planting, as also maintaining an almost wet texture to the soil. This will ensure excellent conditions for growth. The temperature of the soil should be maintained at 60-70 degrees F.
Dig holes in the soil that are a minimum of 2 inches deep and 2 ½ inches wide. Maintain a distance of 9 inches between one seed and the next. This will allow proper space for growth. High degrees of sunlight is an excellent condition for the growth of this plant; though, it will thrive in certain areas that are made of shade. Plant these in the spring so that the plants thrive well. Change the beds and the plants every few years (3-5) so that the freshness and quality is maintained. Water the plants regularly, but don't overdo it or else the roots won't branch out.
If the plants have been grown from the seed then they won't be ready for harvesting for at least a year. If on the other hand, it is the saplings that have been planted, then they can be harvested as soon as the flowers start to bloom. When white buds start to appear, these can be plucked and used in cooking of varied cuisines. So also the leaves. It is a good idea to keep the plant growing and healthy by trimming and keeping the leaves short (about an inch above the ground) for your herb garden.
Garlic chives are easy to maintain and make for an excellent flavoring for dishes. Use the techniques mentioned above to have your very own garlic chives bed.