Next Year’s Garden List: Garlic Chives

We were at my brother and sister-in-law’s house in Ohio (or as Sylvia says, “Nohio”) this past weekend. My sister-in-law, Heidi, is also a gardener, is many steps beyond me on the natural/whole foods journey, and is always fun to talk with. We were outside one day and I commented on the cucumbers crawling up her pergola (I’m thinking I might try the same next year with the duck enclosure), and then noticed some beautiful white flowers with striking greenery. The flowers were alive with bees. I asked what they were.

Garlic Chives. I’d never heard of them. Heidi had received a clump of them from a friend from China, who said that they are used extensively in Chinese cooking — more like a vegetable used in stir-fries and soups. Like the chives we’re all familiar with, they are perennialsĀ that flower, although they flower later in the year, whereas what I consider “classic” chives flower in the spring. As you would expect from their very descriptive name, they have more of a mild garlicky flavor than a mild oniony flavor. They also spread, so the small clump Heidi had been gifted was now crawling beautifully around their deck.

I found this article from one of my favorite garden writers, Barbara Damrosch, who sings their praises. This year I lined our expanded front garden with Swiss Chard, which is not only gorgeous, but has provided us more greens than we can eat all summer, and will continue to produce into the winter. I’m now figuring out where we have another spot in need of bordering. I know what’ll be going in there come spring.

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