How To Grow Chives
Common Name: Chives
Botanical Name: Allium schoenoprasum
Vegetable Type: Bulb vegetable
Chives are a member of the same family which includes onions and garlic. They are known for their pungent smell and distinctive taste. They are a staple in European cuisine, and are also a very nutrient dense food. Chives are also said to have properties which can prevent cancer. The plant has certain properties which repel pests, which make it a valuable addition to your garden regardless of the yield. So let’s take a look at this plant’s main features.
Life Cycle: Perennial
Height: 30-50 cm (12-20 in)
Width: Chives usually grow in clumps which have a spread of around 10-20 cm (4-8 in)
Flowering Season: The plant usually flowers around mid-late spring, i.e. from April-May
Flowers: They produce violet flowers, which are six petaled and edible
Foliage: Medium green, which are hollow and tubular in shape
Sunlight: Chives require full sun, i.e. 6-8 hours of direct sunlight exposure daily
Water: Regular watering intervals, i.e. moist, well-drained soil is required for optimum growth
Sowing Season: The plants can either be started indoors in early spring, or can be directly started in the ground in mid-spring once the soil starts to warm up.
Sowing Method: Seeds should be sown about 0.5 cm in the soil, and they should be spaced about 10 cm apart from each other.
Care: Rich soil is required for the upkeep of chives. Make sure to apply a slow grow fertilizer liberally to the plants, with a high nitrogen concentration. Mulch regularly to conserve moisture and control weeds. Once the plant is fully grown, then the fertilization and mulch can be stopped.
Pests: As chives naturally repel most insects, pests are not such a big problem with this particular crop. However, aphids can affect even this crop. The best way to treat this pest is by washing the plant with neem or soapy water.
Harvest: Chives should be harvested about 60 days after sowing the seed. Even the flowers can be used in cuisine, as they add a nice color to the dishes. However, in the initial stages of the plant, make sure to remove the flower buds, as they hinder the growth of the stalk, which is mainly used as an herb. You should cut the stalks and the flowers such that about 3-5 cm of the stalk is left in the ground so that the plant can grow, and be harvested once more. After around 3-4 years, a nice small clump of chives will form giving you a nice-sized yield.
Propagation: Chives are mainly propagated by seeds.
As we can see, these plants do require some intensive care when starting off, however, after time they are quite easy to take care while giving an impressive yield. As they say, ‘No pain, no gain’. Chives not only repel insects from the garden due to the sulphur compounds they contain, but also attract bees due to their vibrant flowers, which helps the overall pollination of all the crops in the garden. So do a favour for your garden and your kitchen, by giving chives seeds a try!