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Growing Together, Issue # 78
July 27, 2013

Garlic Chives

Welcome to the July landscape solutions, Growing Together newsletter. For us here in northern hemisphere, hard to believe summer is half over. For those of you in the southern hemisphere, you are preparing for your wamer growing season.

As always, I would like to welcome our new members, and of course all of you returning. This month I wanted to share some insights on Garlic chives or Chinese Chive.

garlic chives

This is by far one of my favorite herbs to grow. The Chinese variety grows well in full sun or partial shade. They do best in well drained soil. This specie is a perennial and will come back up every year. The root of the chive is a bulb, like garlic. The leaves are long and narrow. Tiny star shaped white flowers emerge in late spring or the summer months. Notice the picture above. Those small flowers create a mass of eloquent color.

Dividing garlic chives is easy. Split the plants and put in different defined beds. Divide in early spring, or plant your seeds. You can also plant seeds throughout the colder months indoors. One of the keys to not letting your garlic chives spread, deadhead the flowers after bloom. If you don't, the seeds will fall to the ground. You will have new stalks appearing the following spring. This is when the plant becomes invasive.

There are many different companion plants and usage for garlic chives. A neat option is to plant as a border, along with another specie. I have planted the chives as under plants with Hostas. Once the Hostas are done blooming, the large stalks become a focal point with the tiny white flowers. You can also plant with perennial flowers surrounding the chives. If you are doing strictly an herb garden, plant some basil, sage, dill, or parsley along with the garlic chives. You can do cluster planting, or create a more formal design following an English garden setting.

I use garlic chives in a lot of dishes. Homemade sauce is a given to chop up the chives and add. I will garnish baked potatoes, salads, some meats, and vegetables with this herb. The Chinese chive also has some medicinal benefits. This plant is great for digestions and high in vitamin C. It is best to chop up and eat fresh. Chives don't dry and keep well.

I have done a few experiments with this herb. I have taken a cluster in the fall and brought it indoors for the cooler months. It has done well in a container over the winter months. I brought the plant back in the spring, and it has done great. I will bring it back in this fall. This is an excellent specie for a window box, indoor or outdoor container garden. The chive grows in many geographic locations. If you don't care for the flavor, this plant is worth growing for its white flowers. A great addition to your indoor or outdoor investment.

Tip For The Month

Here in the southeastern United States, we have had a very wet June and July. It has been recorded as the wettest summer time frame since 1954. Usually our summers are hot and dry. One of the issues many of us are having is our vegetable gardens. Tom and my tomato plants are towering in the garden. The yield is good and we are getting delicious cheery and larger varieties. The problem we are having is the plants toppling, and the base leaves turning yellow. We have cages on each plant. If you have this problem, we have put some extra stability on each plant by putting some rocks around the base of the cages. I also prune off the yellowing leaves. As you know, leaves that turn yellow are a sign of too little or too much water. If you are in a drought, or a situation similar to ours, make sure you correctly identify the problem, and take care of the plants. You want to ensure their health.

Thought For The Month

I wanted to update all of you. On July 14th, at 10:36 am, our granddaughter Blakely Alexis was born. Our youngest daughter Rachael had a tough labor, but has blessed us with a healthy baby girl. This has been such an exciting time for Tom and I. Two grand babies,(our first) since June. Both are healthy and adjusting to life. As mentioned in the previous newsletter, I do compare the beauty of each and every plant, with all of us individuals. We like plants, have our own unique characteristics.

I hope each of you have a wonderful August. I want to thank you again for being with me this month, and I look forward to being with you at the end of August. Now is a great time to plan for your fall or spring gardens.

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