(Note the flat leaf of garlic chives, unlike round leaf of regulat chives)
How To Harvest Your Chive Herb Plants, Regular Chives and Garlic Chives
Each year at the annual HerbFest there are many people who replace chives annually, be it regular or garlic chives. The typical comment will be “I killed my chives last year so I’m back for more”. My response generally is “yes you must have because they are very hardy here in zone 7”.
Typically upon inquiry it is found that the customer did as anyone would normally do and that is decide upon how many chive leaves are needed for the particular dish being prepared and cut accordingly. Example of this is the customer will go to the chives, cut down the leaf stalk until they have what is needed and then clip. Nothing wrong with that and appears reasonable however now the chive has been stunted in its’ growth or possibly killed if in a drought condition during the summer.
- Chives should be cut at the base, not high up in the leaves themselves. By cutting near the base that encourages the chive to “expand” it’s base area adding more leaves to the plant. When the leaves are cut half way down it actually kills that leaf from the point cut to the base. If the plant is stressing at all that can be the “final blow” to its existence.
This is a similar concept to salad greens, except with salad greens one would cut the outer leaves, at the base, and not half way down as a similar death also occurs. Cut the middle of most salad greens half way and you’ve destroyed the plant.
Once the leaves have been cut then any remainder leaves should be put in a freezer bag, UNCUT (don’t want the essential oil that gives the flavor/fragrance to be released) and stored in the freezer bag, in freezer, until needed. Remove the leaves, then cut, and as the leaf defrosts the oil is released into the dish.