days to maturity: 90 days
plant spacing: 3 per square foot
sunlight requirements: 6-14 hours hours
look out for: snails at the base
harvest notes: harvest whole clump every 2 weeks, grows back very quickly
Garlic chives, aka Oriental garlic, Asian chives, Chinese chives & Chinese leek, is a species of plant native to the Chinese province of Shanxi, and cultivated and naturalized elsewhere in Asia and around the world. It can be found growing wild throughout Asia & Europe, and is classified as invasive in other parts of the world. You can identify garlic scallions by their “strap shaped” leaves that are flat like a blade, versus rounded and hollow (like other alliums like scallions).
The flavor of this herbaceous plant is more like garlic than chives. Both the leaves and the flowers are edible. Another traditional way to eat garlic chives is to blanche them. To try this technique, cut the garlic chives down at the base of the plant, then cover the plant with a pot from the kitchen or anything else solid so that no light reaches the plant. About 5 days later take the pot off and the plant will be regrown but neon yellow, since it couldn’t make any chlorophyll in the dark.
The leaves are used as a flavoring in a similar way to chives, scallions as a stir fry ingredient. In China, they are often used to make dumplings with eggs, shrimp, and/or pork. A Chinese flatbread similar to the scallion pancake may be made with garlic chives instead of scallions. Garlic chives are a key ingredient in traditional Korean kimchi recipes, and there is also a type of kimchi made just with garlic chives, called “buchu-kimchi”.
Besides being delicious Garlic Chives are also quite nutritious. They are are rich in vitamin C, which may prevent common colds and flu, and are also rich in riboflavin, potassium, vitamin A, iron, thiamine and beta-carotene which when consumed increase blood cell count, maintain blood pressure and boost the immunity. Garlic chives contain the bio active element Allicin, also found in garlic, which is known to boost heart health. This phytonutrient relaxes the blood vessels surrounding the heart and thus prevent high blood pressure. Chives also contain another element called Quercitin, which reduces plaque accumulation in the arteries and keeps cardiovascular diseases at bay.
This is one of the strongest & most resilient plants we see in gardens. Even when a garden has been neglected and laid unattended for years we find patches of garlic chives still thriving amongst the weeds. This is attributed to their incredibly strong root systems which are dense and span way larger than the aboveground parts of the plant. Garlic chives can be propagated by seed or by dividing mature clusters. Harvest your garlic chive patch once a week and itll grow back so quickly, making it a very productive herb crop.