How to Grow Perfect Chives
This month, we’re shining the spotlight on chives: the tiny-but-mighty member of the allium family. Allium plants, which include onions, leeks, and shallots, are usually heavy-hitters in the kitchen that work well when roasted or as part of the base of a dish. However, chives (and their sibling garlic chives) are a little bit different: their flavour is delicate, so they are usually added at the end of cooking to enhance the mild onion flavour of the dish. Plus, Chives bloom with lavender blossoms at their ends, which are also edible and add the same delicate taste. These are perfect as a garnish, or to keep in a vase.
How to Grow Chives
If you've tried growing chives before, you might have noticed a problem. Either your seeds don't sprout at all, or their stems will start to look tall, skinny, and leggy. So what's causing this?
You’ve heard the conventional wisdom for growing: giving your plants water, nutrients, and plenty of sunlight is the recipe for success! Right…? Well, chives are here to challenge your view on that!
The thing is, chives are a rare breed of plant that actually sprout better when they’re receiving little to no light. If you’ve tried growing chives before and had trouble getting the seeds to germinate, this may be the cause. Crazy, right? But if you want to get stunning chives every time, here’s what we recommend:
- Plant your chive seeds in the UrbiPod
- Wrap a layer of aluminium foil over the top of the pod, blocking out the light
- After one week, remove the foil and let your chives keep growing as normal
Growing this way means your chives will still receive the benefits of the UrbiPod’s watering and nutrient delivery, while letting the seeds sprout in their preferred light. Once the chives develop into seedlings, their need for light changes quite a bit: the UrbiPod’s lights will help them keep growing strong at this stage.
Cooking with Chives
When prepping chives, it's best to aim for a clean cut. Use a sharp knife or scissors to try to get a clean slice. The reason for this is that chives are very delicate: hacking away at them or running the blade over the same spot multiple times means your chives may get bruised, mashed, or hard to use.
Chives also don’t take very well to being dried: they will use almost all of their flavour. Fresh chives, on the other hand, are incredibly versatile and can be used in a variety dishes. They pair very well with cheese, eggs, potato, and condiments like aioli, sour cream, and crème fraîche to name a few. Click here for recipe ideas for herby dips and spreads.