Chives are an attractive herb from the Allium family, with round pink flowers, making for an eye-catching display and can be grown in the ground or on containers. There is also a Chinese variety with white flowers that have a mild garlic flavour.
You can sow chive seeds from March indoors or buy a small plant to grow on. To sow, use seed trays or modular trays and sow them thinly in compost and gently water, keeping them in a warm and sunny place. Once the seedlings appear, you can remove them from a propagator or remove the lids. They can take a few weeks to germinate. You can thin them out if they become too overcrowded.
When the seedlings are approximately 4-5 inches, you can plant them out in the soil or in larger containers. You can of course, keep them on a sunny windowsill all year round. Chives like well-drained soil in a sunny spot.
Keep the chives well-watered, especially during dry spells and cut the flowers off once they are spent; the flowers are edible too. Chives are a perennial plant and will die off in autumn and re-grow the following spring, unless you are growing it indoors. You can split clumps and re-pot to re-juvanite your plants.
To harvest your chives, cut them at the base regularly, which will encourage more production. They will be ready from May-October depending on the weather and your location.
Chives are usually eaten fresh and raw in dips, salads and as a garnish. They can also be added to soups and other dishes giving them a subtle onion or garlic flavour. You can freeze chives by adding some water - using an ice tray is ideal.