Packet containing 250mg, approx 50+ seeds
A relatively new vegetable in the English-speaking world but well-known in Asian cuisine, the flavour of garlic chives is more like garlic than chives, though much milder. Both leaves and the stalks of the flowers are used as flavouring similarly to chives, green onions or garlic.
In Asian cuisine they are also known as Ku chai, Koo chye or Gau choy and are a key ingredient in many stir fry recipes. The flowers may also be used as a spice.
The plant has a distinctive growth habit with strap-shaped leaves unlike either onion or garlic, and straight thin white-flowering stalks that are much taller than the leaves. It grows in slowly expanding perennial clumps, but also readily sprouts from seed. Besides its use as vegetable, it also has attractive flowers.
The rest of the plant is edible too the bulbs used like shallots and the flowers as garnish or mild flavouring.
The white flowers, produced in dense flat sprays have a delightful fragrance of old-fashioned roses and are as pretty as any house plant. A few pots on your kitchen window sill will perfume the whole room.
Sow indoors in spring, or directly outdoors in early Summer
Sow the seeds indoors using normal potting compost. Make sure the compost remains moist. The seedlings will appear a week to ten days later. Transfer them outside once all risk of frost has gone. Plant 10cm (8in) apart.
Full sun and fertile ground is preferable and although they are fairly tolerant of drought, don't plant them in very dry places. The ideal soil is well-dug with the addition of well-rotted compost or organic material. Work in a handful or two of bonemeal per square metre (yard). It is not necessary to feed throughout the year if the soil has been prepared before planting.
Cut the leaves with scissors when required, starting with the outside leaves (those nearest the edge of the pot) and working your way inwards. Always leave 5cm (2in) of leaves remaining. The leaves rapidly grow back and can be cut several times in the growing season. Plants grown from seed should be left alone (although remove the emerging flower heads) until July in the first year to allow a good root system to establish itself.
Garlic Chives produce a mass of white flowers in late Spring, and a second flush may well occur between June to July. If you are growing the plants for eating only, these flowers should be removed as soon as possible - if left, they restrict the growth of new leaves. If the flowers are required for eating or for their colour, it is best to keep separately a couple of chive plants for this purpose. When the flowers are starting to fade, cut the whole plant to 5cm (2in) from ground level and you will then have a second set of leaves produced and probably a second flush of flowers
Chives are very similar to onions, they have a bulbous root and green leaves. Simply dig up the clump of bulbs in March or October, carefully separate them into individual bulbs and replant with the tips of the bulbs level with the soil surface. They thrive on this method of propagation, because it relieves the congestion in the bulbs. Divide every few years when production seems to slow. Pull mature bulbs in Autumn. Save only healthy, true-to-type bulbs for replanting and eat the rest. Store in cool dark areas and replant bulbs in the spring.
Companion Planting and Pest Repellent:
As a member of the allium family, they will help to deter most insects, including aphids, mosquitoes, carrot flies and tomato pests. They are also a useful in the fight against, moles, mice slugs and weevils!
|Average Seed Count||50 Seeds|
|Common Name||Chinese leek, Oriental garlic chives, Ku chai, Koo chye or Gau choy|
|Flowers||White flowers, produced in dense flat sprays|
|Natural Flower Time||July to August|
|Foliage||Thin, strap-shaped leaves|
|Time to Harvest||Plants grown from seed should be left alone until July in the first year.|
|Position||Full Sun prefered|
|Soil||Fertile, Well-drained, light.|
|Harvest||Cut the leaves with scissors when required.|
|Time to Sow||Sow indoors in spring, or directly outdoors in early Summer|
|Germination||Seedlings will appear in a week to ten days.|