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Growers often use the beautiful purple flowers of Chives as a border plant in their gardens. While it’s a favorite crop among farmers, you will also see the pungent herb consistently present in kitchens. In fact, there are numerous ways you can incorporate Chives in your dishes. However, you will usually see it diced and added as a garnish. If you are still on the fence, whether growing Chives in Aquaponics gardens is a worthy option, then read on.
In this article, we will discuss how you can effectively cultivate the versatile chive plant in your Aquaponics system.
Why Grow Chives in your Aquaponics Garden?
Some of you may not be aware of it, but Chives belong to the Onion family. It is a native of Asia, Northern America, and Europe and has been roughly around for 5,000 years. Chives or Allium schoenoprasum means in Greek “reed-like” leek. It is a relative of scallion and ramps. However, unlike other more traditional onions, Chives do not form large underground bulbs.
During summer and spring, Chives produce charming purple edible flowers with a mildly pungent taste. These blossoms are likewise excellent as a garnish, or you can cook it with chicken. Alternatively, others prefer preparing chive butter with chopped blossoms. Since the herb offers a milder flavor, it is ideal for blending with dips, soups, fish, omelets, baked, or mashed potatoes. Just remember when cooking add the herb at the last minute because heat ruins its sensitive flavor.
Health Benefits of Chives
Now, you may be wondering, do Chives offer nutritional benefits? The answer is yes. It is a nutrient-dense herb. This implies that chives are rich in vitamins and nutrients but very low in calories. Below are the nutrients you will get from 1 tablespoon of chopped chives as reported by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA):
- Vitamin K – 6.38 micrograms
- Energy – 0.9 calories
- Vitamin C – 1.74 milligrams
- Potassium – 8.88 milligrams
- Vitamin A – 6.43 micrograms
- Calcium – 2.76 milligrams
Aside from the elements discussed above, Chives likewise has a minimal dose of Choline. It is a vital nutrient that aids in nurturing our cellular membranes. Additionally, Choline also assists with muscle control, memory, mood, and several nervous and brain system activities.
Given these points, we can certainly say growing Chives in aquaponics gardens is a worthy decision. We provide in the next section the guidelines you should follow to ensure your herb thrives in your system.
Cultivating Chives in your Aquaponics Garden
Chives are perennial herbs that are cold-tolerant. Take note when growing this plant, it is best to take out the flowers once it blooms to prevent seeds from scattering. If you allow it to scatter, the plant will propagate rapidly and take control of your garden. Here are the parameters you should follow to cultivate Chives in your Aquaponics setup.
For optimal growth, the ideal pH range for this herb is between 6.1 to 6.8.
Chives are sturdy crops and can endure a broad range of temperatures. However, it prefers a temperature between 65°F to 80°F.
Position plants 8 to 12 inches apart so that herbs will receive equal amounts of nutrients and avoid competition.
The herb requires 12 hours or more of sunlight to flourish. However, there are instances when this is impossible, especially if your system is in an area without ample natural light. In case this happens, growers have an option to use artificial light. Take note of the following differences:
- Natural – Of course, natural light comes from the sun and generates color and heat. It features all the shades of the spectrum, which is essential for photosynthesis.
- Artificial – This type of light can be sourced from fluorescent tubes, incandescent bulbs, and light-emitting diodes (LEDs). The majority of artificial lights do not transmit the full spectrum of colors and could hinder plant growth. However, full-spectrum lights that replicate sunlight are presently available.