Tuesday, June 30, 2009


I love the chives in my garden! I grow them mainly for the wonderful violet flowers that bloom in spring. But chives belong to the onion family and can be used as an herb to flavour many culinary dishes. In our climate they die back each fall and re-appear in early spring. It is the first herb I can harvest after a long winter. And nothing tastes better than some fresh chives on a baked potato shortly after the snow disappears. They can be grown from seeds and can easily be propagated by divisions.

Chives are the smallest species of the onion family. They are a bulb-forming herbaceous perennial that grow in clusters. The leaves are hollow and can be cut to their base without damage to the plant. New leaves will grow back as the summer progresses. Bees love chives and this plant can be used to lure bees to the garden to fertilize other plants. The plants themselves, however, contain sulphur compounds which repel other insects. Chives are rich in vitamin A and C and contain trace amounts of calcium and iron. But eating this plant in large amounts could cause digestive upsets. Early gypsies believed that hanging bunches of dried chives around the house would ward off illness and evil spirits.
Family: Alliaceae. Genus: Allium. Species: A. schoenoprasum
Common Name: Chives

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