This year you must plant some chives in your garden, you must.
Chives are a wonderful addition to the garden as apart from producing summer flowers, they’re incredibly easy to grow, the foliage is lush and plentiful, they’re low growing and all parts of the plant are edible. They really are the perfect garden plant!
by Gareth Austin
Chives do best in any good fertile soil, from soil to partial shade. Ideal for growing in pots and containers close to the home, this way you can simply pop out to get handfuls of fresh chives for cooking or close to the house the many butterflies which visit the flowers can be more readily admired.
Chives also make for a wonderful informal hedge when used as a path edging or a low growing border edging. The grass-like foliage spilling out from the borders with the upright flower heads during the summer.
Your chives will double in size every year, do lifting and splitting the clumps in March becomes almost a yearly affair for many gardeners, so you’ll always have more to replant around the garden but also to give away to friends and family.
The foliage is widely used and most cooks will be familiar with this, but for me it’s the flowers which hold the best flavour, a sweet & sharp oniony flavour.
So do pick these flowers and use them liberally in salad garnishes and for decoration throughout the summer – if you don’t pick the flowers the plant will go on to produce seeds – this energy drain will reduce the amount of fresh foliage the plant produces.
So it’s best to pick and enjoy the flowers as they open, this management will get you more foliage and a further flush of flowers.
I’ve always like the name ‘Old Woman’s Onions’ given to Chives, this name comes about as a result of being able to continue pick and use the chive foliage as a substitute for spring onions, so instead of growing/buying scallions you can just pick and chop the chive foliage.
Regarding feeding, a fistful of the Viano Organic Plant Food in the Spring, followed up with another in mid-summer will keep your plants growing strongly and you’ll be able to enjoy lots of harvesting from your chives.
So you need to get out now and plant some chives in your garden…just look in the Herb section of the garden centres.