Is your chives plant ready for seed harvest? How do you know?
Passing by them on your way to the rosemary on a gorgeous April day, the sunshine high and bright, the breeze brisk but temperate, you notice your chives plant flowers have some dark seed-looking things perched within them. The chives flowers have long since lost their bloom (a good sign you’re on your way to seed production), but now what?
“Begin by plucking” is my motto. I pluck those old buds right off the stem and head indoors. Shaking the black dots off the petals, I gather them into a pile on my counter and run a quick search of the internet for confirmation. Small black bean-shaped seeds. I look at the computer image, look at my seeds. Yep, that’s exactly what I had in my hot little hands! But they’re actually flat. At least to my aging eyes it appears that they’re flat.
Well, by golly, it’s time to march back outside and harvest the rest of them! Excited gardeners are full of energy and exuberance–we don’t wait for nuthin’! Especially when it comes to harvest. However, remember the brisk April wind I mentioned? Harvesting chives seeds is best done on days with minimal wind. Of course it is.
But fear not, enthusiastic gardener! You work quickly and meticulously snipping and collecting, depositing into your homemade seed packet. These babies are valuable! You love your chives, don’t you?
Of course you do. Label your packet and hold them until it’s time to plant chives again. If you’re planting indoors, plant chives seeds in the dark at about 60-70F. Once they sprout, move them into the light. If planting outdoors, wait until threat of frost has passed and sow in the ground. Keep in mind they prefer warm rich light soil and lots of sun. By the way, it’s helpful to know that you don’t have to wait until your chives go to seed. You can divide your plants into clumps and replant as a method of increasing the “chives love.” Just be sure that each small plant has about 10-12 buds on it.
So my chive plant is ready for harvest and how do I know?
Passing by them on my way to the cilantro this gorgeous April Florida day, the sunshine high and bright, the breeze a bit brisk, I noticed the flowers had some dark seed-looking things were perched within them. Now the chive flowers have long since lost their bloom which is a good sign we’re on our way to seed production. Happens that way with so many of my vegetables, I figured why not? But with a double-take, I peered at these easily visible babies and thought: no way. It can’t be that easy.
But ever the optimist, I plucked those old buds right off the stem and headed indoors. Shaking the black dots off the petals, I gathered them into a pile on my desk, right next to my computer screen. A quick search of the internet should provide me with some photos and sure enough, a few keystrokes later I was grinning. It absolutely was that easy!! Small black bean-shaped seeds, it read. Yep, that’s exactly what I had in my hot little hands! But they’re actually flat. At least to my aging eyes it appears that they’re flat.
Well I marched right back outside to harvest the rest of them! Excited gardeners are full of energy and exuberance–and we don’t wait for nuthin’! As I pushed through the screen door–my herb garden is now conveniently located just outside my patio–the wind kicked my hair to and fro, this way and that. Seems even in April we get “cold fronts” here in Central Florida and mine is howling today. And don’t you know, one of the instructions noted “it’s best to harvest chive seeds on days with minimal wind.” Of course it did. (Mother Nature and I have somewhat of a contentious relationship. She’s contentious and I do my best to smile. Sugar and flies and honey and bees, you know!)
Undaunted, I snipped the rest of the dried buds from the plant and plopped them directly into my awaiting Mason jar. Under the circumstances, I decided it was the only way to ensure minimal loss since I wasn’t working under minimal wind conditions. It’s a living. 🙂