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Food for Life - Schools Programme

                                                                                    

How To Grow Chives

Plant: Perennial

Hardy: to -35´
Height: to 60cm
Soil: Moist, Fairly Rich
Exposure: Sun, Partial Shade
Propagation: Seeds, Divisions
Uses: Culinary
Growing: Chives do best in moist, fairly rich soil and in full sun. Common chives are evergreen (or nearly so) in mild regions, and go dormant where winters are severe. Chinese chives are less vigorous than common chives and more inclined to winter dormancy. They both require the same culture.
The round, hollow leaves with an oniony flavour grow from small bulbs in grass-like clumps. Chives can grow up to 60cm tall but are usually shorter because the tops of the leaves are continually being clipped for use as a seasoning. The clover-like flowers are a rose-purple color and appear first as a little bulblike bud among the round green leaves. The plant is pretty enough to use as an edging for flower borders or an herb garden, and the flowers even can be cut and used in arrangements.
Another allium species similar to common chives is garlic chives or Chinese chives (A. tuberosum). They resemble common chives in their clumping growth form, but the leaves are flat instead of round and are a powdery gray color. The flowers of garlic chives grow in clusters above the tips of the leaves and are white.
Chives are usually bought as small plants, but they also can be grown from seeds. If you have a clump of chives, you can increase it easily by dividing the roots.
Use chopped chives in salads, cheese and egg dishes, gravies, and soups for a delicate onion or garlic flavour. Cut the tops of the leaves as soon as the plants are established. They usually are used fresh but can be preserved by drying or freezing.