Growing Chives on a Commercial Level
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: Michael Kauzlaric
Posted on: July 17, 2002

I will be attempting to grow chives this coming winter (Sept to May) for the fresh cut market and I am still trying to narrow all the necessary information down to try and grow a successful crop. I have come across a vast array information on the internet and from local herb growers in the Niagara region, though there is a shortfall of a winter growing regime such as greenhouse temperature, soil type, light requirements, cold period required (length and temperature) etc. to grow a economical crop. Thus I turn to you in search of information in hopes that you will be able to offer some of your time for me. I currently have chives planted in plug trays and am trying to increase my inventory as the days go on.

I hope you have used Grolau chives as your variety, or a similar commercial greenhouse strain, as they will do much better. Since you are starting with new seedlings, they may last through the winter without "fading" away. If the plants seem to get weak, you may have to gradually decrease their temperature to freezing and give them a month of freezing temperatures and then gradually bring them back to greenhouse temperatures again. It might be better to start new plants before the old ones need a winter rest, so that there is little time with no production. Another option would be to have a second batch of plants that you leave outside in fall and when the indoor plants start to get less productive bring in the other plants and get them started under the benches.

We do not have any data on optimum greenhouse temperatures for such a venture, but you could try with about 10 degrees Celsius or 50 degrees Fahrenheit and raise the temperature if the growth is too slow.

The plants will need as much light as you can give them. They are high light plants.

They like a well-draining, fertile, humus-rich soil.

Make sure to check our web-site www.richters.com under "Commercial" for more information. There is a report on greenhouse cultivation of garlic chives in the "Resources for Growers" section of our website.

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