Chives are the smallest member of the onion family and when Growing Chives you must ensure that the ground is weed free and well drained, planted either in full sun or partial shade. By providing some organic compost will help them to thrive. Chives will grow well in most soil types.
Grow chives from seed by using standard potting compost if growing indoors in March and keep them in the dark until the seedlings appear or they can be grow straight into the ground from April. If growing inside make sure you keep the compost moist
The seedlings come through in about 10 days. Transfer them outside after 1 month and give them 10cm between each plant. Chives are best grown in bunches of about 5 bulbs, seedlings, to a bunch.
Chives are perennial evergreen plants, which reproduce their bulbs and spread and enlarge in plant size by self propagation. When the bunches become too big, after 2 or 3 years, you can lift and divide them back into smaller bunches in either March or October.
When re-planting make sure that the tips of the bulbs are level with the soil’s surface. They benefit from this type of propagation as they can easily become congested if left to their own devices. Chives grow rapidly and can be harvested approximately 3 months after planting. If you have planted from seed it is advisable to leave them for a year before harvesting, this will give them the opportunity to develop a good root system.
Chives do not require any after care, bar watering if conditions are really dry. In order to keep chives pest free it is best not to plant them next to onions as they may then be attacked by onion fly.
Once the plant has finished flowering remove the dead flower stalks, or if you prefer fresher leaves to eat, cut the entire plant back to 5cm from the ground and a second new growth will grow. In winter there may be some dying back, but the plant is still healthy, simply remove any dead foliage in spring.
All parts of the chive can be eaten, including the flowers. When harvesting select the chive leaves which are on the outside of the plant and work inwards. The leaves grow back very fast and can be cut numerous times, but in order for them to do so it is advisable to leave 5cm of each leave.
Should you be Growing Chives purely for eating then all flowers should be removed, as they curb the growth of new leaves. Chives are an excellent herb to plant in containers as they need so little attention, apart from watering when the compost starts to dry out. As always to avoid the plants being damaged by frosts it is advisable to put their containers close to the walls of the house during winter months.