Garlic chives are one of the most versatile herbs that I know. I use them a lot as topping for omelets, grilled meats and stir-fried dishes. They give off a mild garlicky smell that makes even the plain fried dish much more appetizing. Chives are generally easy to grow under warm sunny weather and require little maintenance. No wonder they are a favorite of most urban gardeners like me.
Also known as Chinese chives, Chinese leeks or cu- chai (“kutsay” in Filipino), garlic chives are a regular ingredient in Asian cuisine. In contrast to the hollow tube-like leaves of green onions or scallions, garlic chives are flat. The leaves and flowers are edible but their roots are not.
Propagation of chives
This herb can be propagated from seeds, or from root stalks. Sow the seeds directly into a rich loamy soil. The seeds will germinate in 8 days and after another week, they can be transferred to a sunny spot. When using a container, a medium sized 8-inch container is sufficient.
To propagate from root stalks, buy a bundle of chives with their roots still intact. Cut off the top portion of the leaves for cooking and leave about 2 inches of the root portion. Plant the root stalk by burying about 1 inch into the soil. After 5 days, new leaves will start to appear from the old stalks.
Chives are a low maintenance herb. Just make sure to choose a spot that gets at least 6 hours of sunlight every day. Water is needed only if the soil becomes dry, that is especially during summer time. Pests are hardly an issue, because the smell of chives can repel most common insects, and even other animals.
How to Harvest
Chives typically grow up to around 12- 15 inches in height. To harvest, cut the upper leafy portion leaving only about 1 inch from the ground. New growths will appear in a few days and can be ready for another round of harvest in just 3 weeks. To ensure continuous harvest, fertilize at the roots with compost or organic fertilizer at least once a month.