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Garlic Chives are a perennial and easy in grow. Leaves can be harvest as soon as large enough and will reshoot.
Outside: April - July
Indoors: Virtually all Year Round
Garlic chives are quite different from their onion chive relatives in both appearance and flavour. The leaves of the garlic chive are flat, whereas onion chive leaves are hollow. The attractive star shaped flowers makes it a useful plant for beds and borders or they can also be dried for flower arrangements. However, they are generally grown for their culinary value and make a welcome addition to salads, soups, stir fries, grilled meats, herbal vinegars and butters. The leaves, stems and flowers are all edible but unlike regular garlic, the bulbs are not edible.
Garlic chives are quite easy to grow from seed. You can start these hardy perennial plants off early by sowing the seeds indoors during March and April ready for planting out at the end of May, or when all danger of frost has passed. Sow the seeds lightly onto a tray or pot of damp compost and cover with 1cm of fine sifted compost. The seeds can also be sown directly outdoors from April to June into drills and thinned out to 20cm-30cm apart.
Growing in pots
If growing garlic chives in pots or containers, use a quality compost and place in a sunny position in the garden or on the patio. Keep the plants well watered during dry spells and apply a liquid feed at 2 weekly intervals.
Growing in beds
Plant the seedlings into outdoor beds or the herb garden, ensuring the soil is rich in organic matter and is free draining. They can also be planted amongst other plants or used for decorative edging. A liquid feed fertiliser can be applied every 2-3 weeks to keep the plants growing strong and healthy.
Garlic chives will continue to grow throughout the season and into the following seasons, spreading as they build up their underground supply of food, which is stored in their bulbs. Keep the plants watered and remove any weeds from around the base as soon as they appear.
Pests and diseases
Garlic chives are not generally favoured by insect pests but occasionally aphids and sometimes thrips can be a problem, especially in the spring. They can be removed by simply applying a jet of water. In extreme cases of infestation you can use an insecticidal soap. Rarely, the onion maggot can prove troublesome, in which case it’s best to remove the bulbs at the end of the season and dry them before replanting in the following spring.
Harvesting and storage
Garlic chives can be harvested continually throughout the summer and autumn months. Use a pair of scissors to cut the leaves at around 2cm from the base. The leaves will regrow providing a continuous supply. Freshly cut leaves are always best but they can also be chopped and frozen for use throughout the winter months. Pot grown plants can be brought indoors at the end of summer and will continue to grow, extending the harvesting period.
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