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Gardening Patch

Growing Chives - advice on how to grow Chives

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Chives are a member of the onion family (they are the smallest member).

Chives will grow to about 45cm in height and produce an attractive purple flower similar to a pom-pom in shape. Chives are a perrenial plant and their flavour is great when chopped finely and used in salads, sandwiches, stir fries etc.

Preparation

You must make sure that the soil is well weeded before introducing your chives as they do not compete well with other plants. Adding a small amount of organic compost will help your chives growth and should provide all the nutrient requirements the chives need.

Sowing

Plant seedlings into soil in the spring time. Chives are best grown in bunches - about 5 bulbs a bunch with the bunches spaced around 10 cm apart. Every few years you can thin the bunches back down to around 5 bulbs per bunch again.

If your plant is getting too big you can divide the plant by splitting the plant down the middle using a spade and move half the plant to a seperate container or space in your herb garden. This is an easy way to get more free plants.

When dividing the plant make sure your spade reaches a sufficient depth so that you take out all bulbs, roots and associated soil along with the growth above soil level.

Chive flowers closed

Position

Chives will grow well directly in soil or in containers. The Chives below are in an old ceramic kitchen sink alongside some Coriander plants.

Chive flowers open

Soil type

A soil that is well draineed is suitable for growing chives in. A PH of 6 to 7 is ideal for chives.

Tending

A high nitrogen content feed is not required.

Harvesting

Cut the chives with a pair of scissors - around 3 cm above the ground. After flowering cut back the flower stalks.

The flowers are edible and can be used in salads.

Chive flower carpet

Diseases

Chives can also be used as an organic means of repelling aphids.

They are also a great plant for encouraging Bees to your garden which will help with plant pollination.

Chive flower with Bumble Bee