Scientific Name: Allium schoenoprasum
Common Name: Chives, Onion Chives
Chives are an ancient herb in the onion family, the oldest recorded use of chives collected from the wild was back around 5000 years ago. Chives were first cultivated in Europe during the Middle Ages. This is an open-pollinated, heritage variety of Chive meaning you can collect the seed year after year and they'll grow the same as the parent plant.
Chive leaves have a delicate, mild onion flavour that pairs well with eggs, fish and potatoes. They're great used to flavour dips, salads, stews, soups and Mexican dishes. Slice chives thin to get the most flavour out of them. Add chives to your dishes at the last minute of cooking as too much heat can destroy their flavour. Chives can be dried and will maintain their flavour quite well, but using them fresh is always best. The purple flowers of Chives are also edible and make an attractive addition to salads.
Choose a growing site for Chives in full sun or light shade. Ensure your garden soil is free drainage, grow Chives in raised beds if your soil is too compacted or high in clay. Dig through lots of organic fertiliser, compost, worm castings and/or well-rotted manures through your vegetable patches prior to planting Chive seeds. Fertilise at least monthly with an organic liquid fertiliser or worm juice. Mulch around Chive plants well to retain moisture, keep their root systems cool and suppress the growth of weeds. The masses of purple flowers that Chive plants produce are great for attracting bees and other beneficial insects to your garden, while the smell of the leaves act as a repellent for some harmful insect species. Chives will self-sow through your garden if growing conditions are ideal, remove flower heads before they set seeds if this becomes a problem. Chives are frost hardy.
When To Sow:
In cooler regions of Australia sow Chive seeds from September to April. In temperate regions of Australia sow Chive seeds from September to May. In subtropical regions of Australia sow Chive seeds any time of the year. In tropical regions of Australia sow Chive seeds during the dry season from April to July.
How To Sow:
Sow Chive seeds 1cm deep in the soil, spacing or thinning plants about 15cm apart to give them room for growth.
Chive seedlings can germinate slowly, taking between 12 and 20 days to emerge from the ground.
Time To Harvest:
Chive plants will take 11-13 weeks to produce good quantities of leaves. Use scissors when harvesting Chives, they will re-shoot best when they are cut off about 6mm above ground level.