The Chives


Origin
Chives (Alllium schoenoprasum) is native to the Mediterranean basin and to the Orient, where it is still widespread in the wild nature.


General information
Chives or chive is an herbaceous perennial of the same family as onion, garlic and leek. One of the famous herbs of French cuisine, it has the same taste as fresh onion but much softer. In addition to its culinary potential, it is a great ornamental asset. Only the type species is cultivated in France.

Hardy Yes
Watering Regular
Exposure Sunny
Lifespan Perennial


Culture
As for many aromatic plants, chives can be propagated by sowing or by division of the roots.
Sowing:
It can be done from April to May outside into the soil or under cover all year long. In moist soil, it must be sown in holes spaced 15 cm apart, which should be located in furrows 1 to 2 cm deep spaced about 30 cm apart. Then the seedlings must be covered with a thin layer of soil and watered lightly with a mister. Seed emergence occurs approximately 2 weeks later. Seedlings in nursery should be lift into the soil in fall.
Root division:
The mother clump must be separated into small clumps which must be planted every 30 cm in all directions.


Location / Exposure
This smelling herb needs a rich, fresh, smooth and well-drained soil, as well as a good mix of potting soil and sand. It likes a sunny or semi-shady spot and what it prefers are temperate climates.


Care
Chives should be watered only when the soil has dried well on the top because it hates excess moisture. Unless chives is grown for ornamental purposes, the flowers should be pruned as soon as they appear to avoid seed formation and plant exhaustion. Around once a month during the summer, it is also necessary to trim the entire plant, a few centimeters from the ground, so that leaves do not fade and tuft can regenerate. It will produce new fresh and fragrant stems. Every year, also in summer, the clump must be dug up and divided in two in order to obtain a better development. And every three years, it is recommended to divide them into several small tufts to give a boost to the plant. They have to be replant immediately. And it's always good to leave some flowers on the plant to promote volunteer seedlings.


Harvest
With a chisel, cut the edible herbs a few centimeters from the ground. The harvest can be done all year round because this herb grow continuously, but the best time for picking is from April to November. The strands are eaten fresh but can also be dried and even frozen after drying and washed beforehand.


Overwintering
Since it comes from cool and cold climates, it is a hardy herb which has a good resistance to frost. But before winter, it's better to protect it from the cold so it can be harvested all winter long.