Growing Chives As A Coffee Substitute
Chicory is a member of the grass family that is commonly known as grass. Commonly used for lawns and gardens, it is a very attractive grass with a rich texture and a reddish-brown color that are especially used for borders and pathways. Chicory is often mowed with a commercial turf and the grass itself can even be buried under the ground for a better root coverage. Chicory's roots are very strong and it grows quickly. It is not unusual to have a lush lawn in less than one month.
Chicory seeds need three months to germinate and reach harvest. The seeds should be planted at least six inches deep and cover all surfaces with a light blanket of soil. With warm temperatures in spring it generates large amounts of new leaves in the top of the plant. Although Chicory does have a hard taproot, with too much water it can be damaged and buried under heavy foot traffic, overgrazing, and excessive hoof load. Remove excess Chicory seeds during the fall or winter when the soil is frozen at night but still thaws in the day.
When the weather becomes cold in the fall, move the plant outside to a cold frame. Place the frame beneath an old beam, on an old tree trunk, or any sturdy structure that will support the weight. The Chicory plant seeds will remain dormant until the spring. In early May, cut three inches of the stem end of the grass down to about three - half inch pieces. Drill holes in the ground next to the stem end and place the cut piece of grass inside the hole, cover with dirt, and wait for the chicory seeds to germinate.
In late summer till the fall rains, till the area again and repot the plant, removing any existing weeds. It is important to remove all weeds before repotting, because the chives seeds are very sensitive to some pests. Pests such as silverfungus can destroy the flower buds and other underground stems, so these need to be removed carefully. If you intend to harvest the chicory seeds in the fall, it is important to have the soil around the plant well rotted before harvesting.
The late summer and early fall bring cool weather and an abundance of wildlife into the area, with many birds using the flowers as food. There are also many insects from various species of dragonfly and praying mantis, which feed on the chicory flower seeds. However, as long as there is no human interference, the insects should not damage your crop. There is one caution with using this crop, and that is the early springtime. If you harvest the chicory flower seed in this time period, there is a chance that the seeds may be contaminated by the growing of weeds and other insects.
Once you have completed your planting of chives, and the planting of your seeds, you will want to harvest them in early spring. This is because there is a feeding frenzy that takes place in early spring, and there is little if any frosts during this time. Soil that has been sprayed with fertilizer in early spring, may still need to be watered after it has dried out for a few days. For this reason it is best to wait till the last few days to harvest your chicory plant. Also, when you harvest your chicory seeds in early spring, it is best to use organic methods, instead of using any chemicals.
One of the benefits of growing chives as a coffee substitute is that the plant is easy to grow and maintain. You just need to provide it with plenty of light, in the early summer until late fall. Also, they do not like high temperatures. In fact, the only temperature that the chicory plant does well, is about sixty degrees Fahrenheit, which is about the temperature that most chives are found growing in. The final step to growing chives as a coffee substitute is to harvest them before they begin to dry out completely. If you plan to replant them, make sure you do so soon after the chives plant begins to dry out.
When buying chives seeds, look for ones that are heat resistant. If you are growing your own chives, then it is even easier to find them with this feature. While it is possible to find regular seeds, those that are heat resistant are the best. It is also important to note that when growing chives that they be planted in clean, well-drained soil with good drainage. Chicory is a plant that grows very well in sunny areas and with good drainage.