A lot of people start growing their own by picking up herbs in the supermarket. Pots of herbs are readily available but how do you keep these alive once you got them?And why should you buy herbs in the first place? I love herbs they are so handy in the garden and cheap way to start your grow your own adventure. his lead me to put together my herb guides to help others grow their own herbs successfully. And the first guide is Growing Chives.
Chives are one of the easiest herbs to grow for a newbie. They are the smallest member of the Allium or Onion family. I am sure most people have had them on Baked potatoes at some point in their lives but why should you grow these little onions at home?
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Why should you start Growing Chives?
Not only do chives impart a flavour to many recipes, chives also offer some health benefits.
Health benefits of Chives include:
Chives can treat Digestive Issues
The allyl sulfides and other unique organic compounds found in chives deliver similar benefits to the body as garlic, and as such, can effectively ease digestive discomfort. Furthermore, chives have natural antibacterial qualities that can eliminate a wide range of bacteria, particularly those in the salmonella family, which can wreak havoc on your gastrointestinal system. More specifically, chives can increase the nutrient uptake efficiency of your gut, ensuring that you get as many of the nutrients from your food as possible.
Chives can improve Heart Health
One of the most important organic compounds found in chives is allicin, which has recently been linked to reduced levels of “bad” cholesterol in the body and improved heart health. Allicin is also connected to lowering blood pressure; when combined with the vasodilatory effects of the potassium found in chives, this unassuming herb can have a major impact on reducing cardiovascular strain. Furthermore, another organic compound found in chives, quercetin, has been directly connected to lowering cholesterol levels and plaque in the arteries, effectively preventing clogged arteries and lowering your risk of stroke and heart attacks.
Chives can boost Immunity
Most of the attention gets thrown at the organic compounds in chives, but the traditional nutrients are important too! The high levels of vitamin C found in chives help to boost the efficacy of the immune system by stimulating the production of white blood cells and stimulating the production of collagen, which is an essential component in the creation of new blood vessels, cells, tissues, and muscles.
Chives help Increase Bone Health
There is a wide range of vitamins and minerals found in chives, but one of the most important is certainly vitamin K, an essential nutrient that isn’t widely found in many common foods. Vitamin K is very important in the maintenance of bone mineral density and bone integrity. As we age, our bone mineral density begins to drop, leading to conditions like osteoporosis and exacerbating inflammatory conditions like arthritis. High levels of vitamin K, like those found in chives, can help to produce osteocalcin, which is a key part of maintaining mineral density in the bones.
Growing Chives at Home
You can plant chive in early spring. Sow a few seeds thinly across the surface of very small pots. Then cover with a thin layer of soil, water and place in a heated propagator to germinate. Remove the container after germination.
If you forget to sow seeds or want to save time, buy ready-grown plants in the supermarkets.
Tips for Keep your Chives Healthy
- Chives are incredibly easy to maintain. Keep plants well watered, especially during long dry spells in summer.
- Spilt you clumps by lifting and dividing plants every three years or so.
- Preferring moisture retentive, well-drained soil and a sunny or partially shaded position outdoors, chives form 30cm (1ft) tall clumps
- Chives can also be grown in pots of soil-based compost.
- When plants have filled a container you can move it into a slightly larger pot or lift the plant out and divide the rootball in two with a sharp knife, replanting a portion in the same pot.
- Chives die back in late autumn. Keep plants looking tidy by clearing away debris.
Harvesting your Chives
To keep your chives productive, remove flowers as they start to fade. You can use flowers in your salad to add colour. Cut leaves as required with scissors, snipping close to the base of plants. The more often you cut chives the more new leaves will be produced.
Chives are best used fresh in your dishes just chop them as needed.
But they can be cut up fine and packed into an ice-cube tray. Half-fill your try with water or butter and popped into the freezer. Pop out cubes whenever you need them.
What are Garlic Chives?
Did you know there are also garlic chives? Garlic chives (botanical name Allium tuberosum) may look like onion chives but they actually taste like garlic. Whereas onion chives are hollow, garlic chives are distinguishable from chives by their flat, broader leaves and fragrant white flowers.
The beauty of growing your own garlic chives—besides that they are at hand whenever you need them—is that they are perennial like the Onion chive.
So you only need to plant them once, yet you will be able to enjoy them every Spring through Summer. Every three years you should divide the plant and either replant elsewhere or dry one bunch—otherwise, the garlic chive plant will take over your garden. When cutting the garlic chives, snip close to the ground to allow new growth.
Varieties of chives to try
Onion chives – Perennial clumps of onion-flavoured, tender, spear-like green leaves. Delicious in all egg, potato and cheese dishes, in salads, and sprinkled over soups and potatoes.
Garlic Chives– A perennial herb which produces broader leaves than normal chives, and has a delicate garlic taste. A tasty addition to salads and cooked dishes.
Get your free Quick Grow Herb guide to Chives below – click on the image to download
I hope you enjoy these new herb guides I love my herb garden and think that everyone should try growing them. You can even grow herbs on the kitchen windowsill so lack of space is not a problem. If you want to try growing your own organic vegetables why not try some of my gardening guides below.
- Growing Aubergines in a cool climate
- 10 Tips to Grow Great Strawberries
- Chitting Potatoes-How and Why
- Growing Microgreens – a simple guide
If you like this post you can find all my gardening posts here Organic Vegetable Gardening Posts on Snapshot and Snippets.Or sign up for Snapshot and Snippets weekly newsletter with exclusive recipes and organic living and gardening tips and get Free gardening printables.
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