Chinese garlic chives questions

ikea_gwOctober 14, 2012

I am in zone 7 and I have a few questions about my Chinese garlic chives. They flowered last month and now I have some fresh ripe seeds.

My first question is how I can plant these seeds. Should I wait until spring to sow them outdoors or start them indoors under lights last winter.

Second question is whether I can harvest leaves at this point. The plants are looking great, green, full with no signs of going dormant.

Last question is when is the best time to divide the existing clumps I have. Should I wait until they come back in the spring or do it now? Thanks!!

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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

In zone 7 the time to divide clumps is now - before the first frost - they need some time to get root settled before a hard freeze.

The seeds work best if just direct seeded now. The plants readily reseed themselves and they can become invasive so take care where you plant them. The seeds do not store well for any length of time and by next spring germination rate will be less than 50%.

Stem and leaf harvest time is the best flavor before the plants bloom and can be dried or frozen (ice cubes trays work well for this). You can still harvest now but the flavor of the older stems will be bitter so focus on harvesting the smaller thinner leaves and stems.

You can read more about them and their uses over on the Growing Herbs forum here.


    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 8:25PM
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I think you could tie a clump to the roof of your car and ride around for a week, and they would still be alive and ready to grow. Garlic chives are tough plants! You can transplant divisions in spring or fall. I have one big mother clump, and lots of little clumps elsewhere.

These guys reseed so well that they become weedy, and they won't come out with a pull, you gotta dig. To limit reseeding, I remove the flowers after they fade, and only allow a few stems to produce mature seeds. Those I scatter where I want new garlic chives to grow, and dozens come up in spring.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 11:06AM
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The two posts above are very agreeable as far as dividing, re-seeding goes. But many people in the US use this chives as herb, which is not really what was popularly used in the Orient. They are cut all the way to the ground and used as green by stir-frying them just like other green. If you use them as green, you will find them to be very tender and tasty especially in early Spring, and can't get enough of them. The flowers in the late summer are pinched to the ground(before they open) then they get cut off into small sections and stir-fried also. They are very expensive when buying in Asian groceries if you can find them.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 6:12PM
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Sounds like I should be seeding and dividing now. :) I know what I am doing this weekend.

homegro, I am Asian so we do eat chives as mainly a vegetable. It is yummy in dumplings and stir fries.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2012 at 8:52PM
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