Chives are a lovely herb with mild, onion-flavoured leaves and purple miniature allium flowers, that are loved by bees. The chopped leaves and flowers make delicious summer garnishes for salads, omelettes and soups.
Chives are easy to grow, both in containers and in the ground.
How to grow chives
Grow chives in moist but well-drained soil or compost in full sun to partial shade. Harvest the leaves and flowers as and when you need them. Chives are perennial so they will die back in winter and regrow in spring.
Sow chive seeds into a small pot or module. To germinate place on a warm windowsill. Seedlings should appear within three weeks. There is no need to thin them out unless your pot is very crowded.
When your seedlings are about 5cm high, they can be transplanted into pots of peat-free multi-purpose compost. Grow these young plants on in cooler conditions, taking care to harden them off for about a week before planting them outside or into a larger pot. Keep plants well-watered, particularly during hot weather.
|Chives||5-6 weeks – cut as needed|
Slugs & Snails
Be careful, as slugs and snails like to eat the new shoots. You may like to protect your sunflower or runner bean seedlings by cutting the top off a plastic bottle and placing it over them, until they look strong enough to fend off attacks!
Other options for slug control include nematodes, garlic spray, beer traps, wool pellets, grit or broken up eggshells, or for those hardy souls – going out at night with a torch and picking them off by hand!
How to plant the seeds
Carefully tip a few of the seeds into the palm of your hand. You want to keep the extra seeds dry to that you can plant them in the future.
The chive seeds are tiny, but you want ideally no more than 5 seeds per pot. You can use a toilet roll inner, or a pot filled with compost, (plus a saucer, plate or tray for them to sit on).
Drop the seeds onto the surface of the compost and gently press them into the soil so that they are lightly covered.
Put you tray or plate on a windowsill which is not too warm, keep the compost nicely moist (plants need to drink just like we do) – it will need checking every day – and remember to speak words of encouragement, or even better sing to your seeds to help them grow. You should see your seedlings start to emerge within a couple of weeks!
Alternatively, chives can be planted directly into the soil or a large pot from the end of May.
Lolly pop sticks make excellent plant labels.
Chive seeds can be purchased on our website. All certified Demeter by the Biodynamic Association.