Allium schoenoprasum | ‘Chives’ | 100 seeds
Chives (Allium schoenoprasum) is an edible Allium species, closely-related to the Chinese onion, Spring onion, garlic, leek, scallion and shallot. Widespread across Asia, Europe and North America, this tasty perennial is commonly used both as an ingredient in salads and vinegars and as a complimentary herb to bring out the flavour of fish, potatoes, soups and other dishes. Chives are also cultivated for their pretty violet flowers – an attractive addition to any garden, not to mention a common component of ornamental dry bouquets.
Easily grown from seed (the species has been cultivated for around five thousand years), schoenoprasum thrives in full sun and rich, organic and well-drained soil with a pH of 6-7. To germinate, keep the seed moist and at around 15°C to 20°C (60°F to 70°F). After a minimum of four weeks, the young plants should be ready to be planted out. During the growing season, they will continually regrow their leaves, enabling a continuous harvest. Watch out for leek moth larvae, which bore into the leaves or bulbs of the plant!
Rich in vitamins A and C, calcium and iron, chives also possess medicinal properties like those of garlic, albeit weaker, as well as antiseptic, diuretic and mild stimulant properties. Due to its sulphur compound content, the species is used as a natural insect-repellent in farms and gardens, with its juice being used for the same purpose (it’s also used to fight fungal infections, mildew and scab). Despite chives’ general insect-deterrent properties, its flowers are highly attractive to bees, causing the species to be rated in the top 10 of highest nectar-producing plants in a UK plants survey supported by the UK Insect Pollinators Initiative.
All the seed sold by Arkham’s Botanical was freshly and ethically