The most important information at a glance:
Germination temperature: 10-20 °C
Sowing depth: 1 cm (dark germinator)
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.
In a pot:
Use a large pot (diameter of approximately 15 cm).
Fill your pot with a mixture of potting soil and a little bit of sand.
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, at a distance of 2 cm.
Close the planting hole and water the soil generously.
In the following days, you will want to keep your seeds moist at all times, otherwise, the seeds will not be able to properly germinate.
First, make sure there are no 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.
Use your finger to poke holes in the soil at a distance of 2 cm (depth 1 cm), put a snippet in each hole, and close the holes again.
Water everything well and keep the seeds moist until germination.
Chives prefer humus-rich, sandy, and nutritious soil.
They also like it moist and warm: they prefer a bright, airy place in a partially-shaded area, but can also grow in the shade. Just make sure that the sun doesn't burn your chives' thin stalks.
Good neighbours: Carrot, celery, fennel, kohlrabi, marigold, nasturtium, parsley, parsnip, sage, spinach, strawberry, thyme, tomato
Bad neighbours: Cauliflower, cress, coriander, French beans, garlic, leeks
Chives need a lot of water, especially when it's hot.
Trim 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.
Divide your chives every 2 to 3 years. To do this, dig it out carefully and pull it apart in the middle of the root ball. Then, plant the two parts separately.
Your chives are perennial plants, so you won't need to bring them indoors.
Cut the chives 3-4 cm above the ground.
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.
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