Perennial – How To Grow Garlic (Chinese) Chives

Garlic (Chinese) Chive flowers
Garlic (Chinese) Chive flowers

Garlic Chives or Chinese Chives (Allium tuberosum) are a quick growing, hardy, plant which needs very little maintenance or care. They are a prolific grower, and 1-2 plants are generally enough for a home garden. They are a good choice for a beginner garden and, also, add value to established gardens. They look especially beautiful as a border around a garden with their bountiful blooms. The garlic chive is similar to regular chives, yet, is distinctive for its garlic flavor as opposed to regular chives, which taste like onions. They are also called Chinese chives, Chinese leeks, or allium chives.

Garlic Chives Description

  • Chive plants grow 10-20″ tall. The plant sports tall grass-like foliage that is flat and narrow. As it grows, the leaves curve downward with their tips pointing to the ground. This creates a fountain of green foliage that remains orderly and pretty all through the growing season. At the base of each leaf, the stem is a small white bulb which is edible, as are all parts of the plant.
  • In the fall or late summer, they produce beautiful white flowers that bees and insects adore. The flower stalks emerge from the base of the plant and stand tall above the green leaves. A round bulb-like ball forms with dozens of tiny star-shaped flowers. Flower heads should be removed before going to seed since they self-seed easily and can quickly spread and become an invasive if not monitored.

Are Chives Perennial?

  • Yes! Garlic chives grow in USDA hardiness zones 3-9. They have a long growing season and will grow all year-round in climates where the ground doesn’t freeze. In climates where the ground freezes, they will die back during cold weather and reemerge in the spring.

Growing Chives

Location

  • To begin, choose a space in your garden which will be a good permanent place for them. Since they are perennial, they will need a designated spot. They need between 6-8 hours of sunlight a day. They like rich, well-drained, soil yet are adaptable to growing in a variety of soil types.

Planting

  • Garlic chives can be grown from seed or started from divisions. To start them from seed, plant them 1/4″ deep and 6-8″ apart. Garlic chives grow slowly, just a few inches a year until they reach their mature height of 10-20″.
  • To start growing chives from a division, carefully dig out a mature plant. Divide the plant into sections and plant each section in its own location with plenty of space. When you plant from divisions, hold off harvesting any leaves for the first year as they establish themselves.

Maintenance

  • Once they are established, garlic chives need little care. They are very hardy and tolerant of heat, cold, and drought. Sometimes the center of the plant will die when it gets too large. If this happens, pull up the plant and remove the parts that are still good. These can be replanted as divisions.

Harvesting

  • The leaves can be cut and used as soon as they are 3” tall. Cut down the leaves to the base, leaving just a bit of green showing. Like most greens, the leaves should be cut back on a regular basis to encourage new growth. The flower heads of Garlic chives can be cut off and used in salads. The small bulb roots can be pulled up for use in cooking. They have a strong garlic/onion flavor that can be used for a variety of culinary purposes.

Related References

How To Grow Sweet Onions

Sweet onions
Sweet onions

Sweet onions refer to several onion varieties, including Walla Walla, Vidalia, Sweet Spanish onions, and more. These varieties of onions naturally tend to be less pungent than others. The best commercially grown sweet onions like Georgia and Vidalia come from parts of the world that have naturally low levels of sulfur in the soil which they got their name from. Sweet onions are starting to become wildly popular and growing them can be a little tricky.

Some of the most important things to remember about growing sweet onions are that they need plenty of sun, and fertile well-draining soil.

Getting the Garden Bed Ready

Have the intention of planting from early to mid spring. Planting onions can be done between four to six weeks before the last frost. As soon as the ground can be worked in March or April, prepare the garden bed for planting and don’t plant onions until the temperature ceases to drop below 20 F (-6.7 C).

Plant your onions in a bright, non-tree, or other plant shaded sunny location that exposes your onion to direct sunlight of about 6 to 8 hours per day.

Soils should be amended with compost. A loose, fertile, and well-draining soil with a pH between 6.0 and 6.8 gives your onions the best chance. Break up the soil in the garden bed with a tiller and Spread 2 inches (5 cm) of matured compost or aged manure over the garden bed and work it into the soil with a tiller. The use of compost to amend the soil will add nutrients and allows for proper draining of the soil.

Don’t forget the loose grounds allow sulfur to drain through. Otherwise, the onions won’t be as sweet. Addition of fertilizer to the soil to amend the soil with extra nitrogen. A nitrogen-rich fertilizer like blood meal should be sprinkled over the soil and Use a rake to mix the fertilizer with the soil. Sulfur-based fertilizers should be avoided when growing sweet onion to avoid making the onions more pungent

Planting and Caring for Sweet Onions

Use your hands or a spade to build the soil up into rows that are 4 inches (10 cm) high after creating space in the soil and use your hands or a spade to build the soil up into rows that are 4 inches (10 cm) high. It is important to Plant sweet onions in rows or raised beds as this helps drain the water better and produce sweeter onions. It is not necessary to create rows before planting because you have completed your control over the soil medium in the container.

Plant the onions in the rows. Use a spade to dig 1-inch (2.5-cm) holes in the rows. Space the holes, so they’re 6 inches (15 cm) apart. Place an onion set (A small onion that was grown and dried the previous year), in each hole and cover the roots with soil. Planting must not be more than an inch (2.5 cm) deep so the leaves won’t rot and bulbs will grow large.

Cover the soil with a thin layer of mulch as this will help to eliminate weeds from the area and keep the soil consistently moist, which is ideal for onions. Good mulches for onions include a light layer of grass clippings or straw.

When the onion bulbs start to grow, sweep the mulch away from the bulbs to keep the onions dry.

Keep the soil moist as the onions will need regular watering to keep the soil damp because these plants have very shallow roots. Provide the onions with about an inch (2.5 cm) of water each week, minus whatever water they get from precipitation. You’ll have to provide even more water if you didn’t add a top layer of mulch. If the leaves start to yellow prematurely, waterless because this means they’re getting too much.

Use a rake to mix the fertilizer in with the soil before watering. Side dress the onions again when the tops reach about 8 inches (20 cm). When onions flower, it means they have bolted, or are going to seed, so they need to be removed. Flowering onion bulbs that are left in the ground will start to rot.

Harvesting and Storing Onions

Once the bulb reaches maturity, the scapes and leaves start turning yellow and fall over. Wait for the scapes to die back for mature onions. Onions that are left in the ground to mature will eventually start to form larger bulbs. This shows the onions are ready for harvest. The onions might be ready anywhere from 90 to 110 days after planting depending on the variety

On a sunny morning, pull the onions from the ground. Place your hand on the scapes and leaves of the onion near the base, pull it from the ground gently and Shake the onion a bit to remove excess dirt from the roots. Ensure you harvest the onions by late summer since the cooler temperatures of fall will only cause them to spoil.

Curing is the process of allowing the skins to dry, and it will facilitate more extended storage. Because sweet onions don’t keep as long as pungent onions, you don’t have to cure them for as long. Cure the onions. After you’ve harvested all the onions, expose them to the air and sun by spreading out on the soil. Leave the onions to dry in the sun for nearly three days, until the crown and skin are dry. The skin should also be examined to have a uniform texture and color. Cure the onions inside in a well-ventilated area during wet weather

Sweet onions should be used within six weeks since they don’t tend to last as long as regular onions. Wrap the onions individually in paper towels and store them in the refrigerator to elongate the shelf life up to 8 weeks.

With the tips above, you can now start you sweet onion planting in your garden.

Perennial – ‘Common’ Garlic (Allium sativum)

Garlic was used at the beginning of recorded history and was in use in Egypt pyramids and ancient Greece.  The root is composed of from ten to fifteen small bulbs, called “cloves,” which are enclosed in a thin, white, semi-transparent skin, or pellicle. The leaves are long and narrow. The flower-stem is cylindrical, about eighteen inches in height, and terminates in an umbel, or group, of pale-pink flowers, intermixed with small bulbs. The seeds are black, and, inform, irregular; but are seldom employed for propagation; the cloves, or small bulbs, succeeding better.

Hardiness

  • Perennial

Origins

  • Southern Europe.

Uses

  • Common garlic is cultivated for its bulbs, or cloves, which possess more of the flavor of the onion than any other alliaceous plant. These are sometimes employed in soups, stews, and other dishes; and, in some parts of Europe, are eaten in a raw state with bread.  Garlic’s strong flavor, and the offensive odor it communicates to the breath, causing it to be sparingly used in our cookery.
  • Garlic can be planted as a border or inter-planted.   The flowers will attract bees of many varieties to your garden to help with pollination.

Attracts

  • Bees

Requirements

  • Garlic thrives best in a light, well-enriched soil and is helped by lite side dressing throughout the growing season.    Keeping the ground free from weeds and regularly watered.

When to Plant

  • Common garlic is commonly planted in the fall; especially, in southern climates.  However, it may be planted in the spring as soon as the ground can be worked.
  • Plant an inch deep, in rows or on ridges, fourteen inches apart, and five or six inches apart in the rows.
  • I do, periodically, plant in small clusters of three to five in the corners of my raised beds or in areas where I expect my vines to cover serving as a pollinator attractor.

Cautions

  • Not recommended for inter-planting or companion planting with beans if any kind.

Harvesting

When the leaves turn yellow, the plants may be taken up and sun-dried.  After having been dried in the sun, they should be tied up in bunches by the stalks, and suspended in a dry, airy room, for use.

Storage

The easiest way to store common garlic at home is in mesh bags or loosely woven baskets. Garlic with flexible tops can be made into pretty braids to hang; see our online slideshow for an easy how-to. Common garlic keeps longest when stored at 60 to 65 degrees and in moderate humidity.

Perennial – How To Grow ‘Common’ Chives (Allium schoenoprasum)

Common Chives (Allium schoenoprasum)  is a hardy, bulbous-rooted, perennial plant, indigenous to France and Great Britain. The leaves, which are produced in tufts, are seven or eight inches in length, erect and cylindrical, or awl-shaped. The bulbs are white, oval, and of small size; usually measuring about half an inch in diameter. The flower-stalk rises to the height of the leaves, and produces, at its extremity, a globular group of purplish, barren flowers.

Uses

  • Leaves have mild onion flavor. Chop them and add to salads egg and cheese dishes, cream cheese, mashed potatoes, hamburgers, sandwich spreads, soups, stews, and sauces.
  • Chive bloom in mid to late summer make this an attractive border and edging plant.

Companion Plant

  • Bulbs exude a substance that makes plants good companions for carrots by discouraging a harmful fungus.

Hardiness

  • Hardy perennial.

Height

  • 6-10 inches

Spread

  • 12 inches Location

Requirements

  • Chives grow best in full sun in a fairly rich, moist soil, which is high in organic matter and has a pH of 6 to 8. Chives will, however, tolerate partial shade and most soil types. Chives should be fertilized several times during the growing season with a balanced commercial fertilizer or bone meal and manure.

Planting:

  • Sow seeds in spring or fall, in. deep in rows 12 in. apart. As soon as seedlings are established thin to 6 in. apart. Or set out nursery grown plants in early spring,

Harvesting:

  • Leaves can be cut 4-6 mo, after sowing: then cut often and close to ground. 

Preserving:

  • Leaves lose color in drying. Instead of drying, grow winter supplies indoors by potting a few clumps in fall and keeping them near a sunny window, Can also be preserved by deep freezing

Propagation

  • Lift and divide clumps every 3 or 4 yr.

Related References