Funny how we measure time by the height of a tree or abundance of a bush. I can remember when we broke ground in our tiny garden – now expanded to the size of a football field. I remember the year we planted the apple and pear trees, when I sowed the small seed that now is a tangled wandering mess of oregano that covers four square feet. I remember the year I brought home a tiny, scraggly chocolate mint plant – that has since taken over half of the perennial garden.
This will be the year of the chives.
I’ve been wanting chives for several years. I even bought a plant a few years back and placed it in the garden. That was the year we expanded our flock of hens, and the new leghorns taught our lazy fat hens how to fly out of their fence. The chives were not big enough to survive the scratching.
Apparently, I bought chive seed sometime late in the season last year — two packs. I put them up for the year, and forgot about them. I didn’t go through my saved seed before I ordered new seed this spring, and I ordered more chive seed — two packs.
So, I started lots of chives — two trays. I’ll plant at least six (or more) of the starts in the new perennial garden we’re starting this year – and perhaps the rest I’ll take to the plant swap with the CEOS club, give to friends or sell at a farmer’s market.
I love chives. I like to chop them when they’re fresh and freeze them in freezer bags or ice cubes. I’ll toss an ice cube into the rice cooker, warming soup, etc.
Chives have been reported to have anti-cancer, anti-clotting, antibacterial, antiviral and decongestant properties. Studies have shown that a greater intake of allium vegetables(onions, garlic, leeks) is associated with lower risk of several types of cancers, especially stomach and prostate cancer. The leaves of chives have been found to have a high antioxidant activity and are also packed full of flavanoids.
In Chinese herbal medicine, chives are used to control bleeding and to treat fatigue. The leaves can be applied to insect bites, cuts and wounds and the seeds used for treating problems associated with the kidney, liver and the digestive system. Chives have also been shown to help lower cholestrol when included in a balanced diet. They are rich in vitamin A and C and contain a small quantity of iron.
Chives are a pretty plant as well. Spiky little bunches with pink flowers in the spring. The seed I plant now will bloom in a year – and will season our foods for years to come.Everyone needs at least one bunch in their garden, or in a pot on the porch.
I’ll keep you posted on the chive development as the season progresses. And years from now, I’ll likely remember this year as “the year we planted the chives.”
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