A Tasty Herb With Many Uses

Garlic Chives photo     Garlic Chives, Allium tuberosum , are also known as Chinese Chives or Chinese Leek. A relatively new vegetable in the English-speaking world but well-known in Asian cuisine, the flavor of garlic chives is more like garlic than chives, though much milder. Garlic chives are a slightly different version of the onion or  common Chives with flat leaves instead of tube shaped and a more pronounced garlic scent. Pink flowers appear on the common Chives and the Garlic chives have white flowers. They are also edible and can be used to garnish salads.

     Garlic chives spreads by means of rhizomes (underground stems), which are rather similar to the rhizomes of the common bearded iris. Roots emerge from the underside of these rhizomes.


Pot Size                      Use a container 6-8 inches wide and at least 6-12 inches deep.  

Plant Spacing               Garlic Chives should be spaced 3 to 5 inches (7- 12cm) apart.

Seed Spacing               1/4", on a depth 1/2".

Seed Germination         7 to 12 days.

Soil Requirements         Well drained and moderately fertile.

Growing Mix                  Mix two parts sterilized potting soil and one part coarse sand or perlite

Fertilizer                       Liquid fertilizer once every four to six weeks.

Sun & Lighting               Grow best in full sun, but tolerate light shade. Prefer about 6 hours of sun a day.

Water Requirements       Water on a regular schedule but keep soil moist

Culinary herbs photo     The combination of a chive-like appearance and strong flavor makes Garlic chives a popular seasoning. Use tender, mild chives leaves to season cream cheese and butter, and in salads, soups, vegetables, sauces, egg dishes, meat and poultry, and seafood -especially salmon, caviar, and oysters.

     Garnish salads, entrees, and hot and cold soups with a sprinkling of freshly snipped chives. When cooking with chives, add it to your dish during the last 5 to 10 minutes, as prolonged heat destroys the flavor.

     Add leaves to vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil.

     Try the flowers in egg, cheese, and fish dishes, or use as a garnish. As the pungent flavor of an entire flower head can be overwhelming, break it into individual florets, and add discretely until you find your flavor tolerance level.

     Like other members of the garlic and onion family, garlic chives contain a sulphur-rich mustard oil that aids digestion and helps promote the flow of blood. In folk medicine chives were used to treat intestinal parasites, enhance the immune system, and treat anemia.

     In Chinese herbal medicine, garlic chives has long been used to treat fatigue, help control excessive bleeding, and as an antidote for ingested poisons. The leaves and bulbs are applied to insect bites.

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