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Chives

Melanie Melanie
22/07/2021 · 4 minutes reading time

Help your July plants grow tall and strong!

Here's what's ahead:

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Do you prefer to keep your garden a device-free zone? We get that. We’ve drawn up a cheat sheet with the most important information about sowing your thyme, so you can take it with you into the garden. Just print out our quick start guide.

Getting Started

  • Key information at a glance:

  • Germination temperature: 10-20 °C

  • Sowing depth: 1 cm (dark germ)

  • Germination time: 7-14 days

  • Prep indoors: Mar.–Apr. / Harvest: May–Jan.

  • No-till outdoors: Apr.–Sep. / Harvest: Jun.–Jan.

  • Row spacing: 30 cm

  • Plant spacing: dense

  • Root depth: 20 cm

  • Type: Weak Eater

What is one versatile herb that can turn any sandwich or spread into an instant hit? You guessed it: Chives! This tube-like "grass" from the allium family will feel right at home in your garden or windowsill pot, and you won't be able to let it go. Chives are a bit of an all-round talent: the flowers are also edible, and the purple balls attract insects, almost as if by magic.

Chives don't really like it when it's too warm or too cold. If you only have a window sill and can't manage to sow the seeds in early August, it's best to wait until next spring to do so. You can try sowing after August, but the sun, which is getting weaker from that point on, no longer has enough power to promote healthy growth.

And for outdoor sowing, you can sow the seeds until the beginning of September.

Sowing

Here's one quick tip for you: Chives may not be the easiest herb to sow, but we believe that anyone can do it, if you are patient!

Here's what you'll need:

In a pot: Large pot (diameter at least 15 cm), so that your chives have enough space

Soil: vegetable soil, sand

Watering: Shower-ball, spray bottle, watering can or preferred watering device

Sowing outdoors: Enrich the soil with compost and sand before sowing

So let's go…

In a pot: First, remove the seed-paper from your calendar and tear it into small pieces so that there is one seed on each snippet. Place the snippets, face down, 1 cm deep in the ground, moisten them with some water, close the planting hole and water the soil generously. In the following days, you will want to keep your seed moist at all times, otherwise the seeds will not be able to properly germinate.

Important point for sowing outdoors: When you want to harvest chives, you'll first have to make sure there are no the weeds in the area. Before you sow your seeds, loosen the soil, remove all roots and stones, and add compost and sand. Unlike most other herbs, chives need quite a lot of nutrients to grow big and strong. After that, follow the same steps outlined under "In a pot".

Location

Chives prefer humus-rich, sandy and nutritious soil. They also like it moist and warm: they prefer a bright, airy place in a partially-shade area, but can also grow in the shade. Just make sure that the sun doesn't burn your chives' thin stalks.

Good and Bad neighbours:

Good: Carrot, celery, fennel, kohlrabi, marigold, nasturtium, parsley, parsnip, sage, spinach, strawberry, thyme, tomato

Bad: Cauliflower, cress, coriander, French beans, garlic, leeks

Care

Chives need a lot of water, especially when it's hot. In addition to regular watering, you'll want to keep trimming your chives to keep them around 3-4 cm. You'll find that the stalks grow back quickly, and this will allow you to enjoy the flavour and scent of your spicy garden buddy for longer.

Every 2-3 years, you'll also want to divide your chives. To do this, dig it out carefully and pull it apart in the middle of the root ball. Then you can use the two-part plant again.

Your chives are perennial plants, so you won't need to bring them indoors.

Harvest and Enjoy

Okay, so you've harvested your chives. What now?

When used fresh, the tubes and flowers are ideal for salads – we are partial to potato salad. You can also sprinkle the chives onto your sandwich, mix them in with your butter, or prepare a bowl of herb quark.

Drying your chives is also very easy: on a warm, dry day, cut the chives 3-4 cm above the ground and hang the stalks upside down in an airy and warm place, e.g. bike shed or attic. After about 2 weeks the stems will be dry, and you can store them in an air-tight container away from harsh light.

You can also make your chives a part of your kitchen year-round by freezing them. To do this, just cut your freshly harvested tubes into 1 cm long pieces, put them in a freezer bag and put it in the freezer.