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Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Chives and garlic chives - grow your own

Chives and garlic chives are part of the allium family and are perennial herbs which grow from a small bulbs. Chives which originated in Asia and have a mild onion or garlic flavour. Chives have the same nutritional and health benefits as other alliums.

Chives can grow to about 30-50cm high and produce, depending on the variety, beautiful pink and lavender blossoms which can also be added to salads.

Chives prefer a  well-drained soil and benefit from adding well rotted manure or compost before planting.

Plant chives between mid-February and mid-May in an area which enjoys full sun. Keep moist and weed free.

Plant clumps of up to six chive bulbs 15cm apart. Divide large clumps of chives about every 3 years. Dig up the plants and divide them into small clumps with four to six bulbs each.

Use scissors to cut chives about 5cm above the soil. Before the plants flower, harvest from the outside edges of the clumps. After flowering, cut back the entire plant.

Add to salads, soups, fish and potato dishes.

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