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The Seed Program
Growing Hints

This is one of the many growing hints that are available as a bonus with a registered copy of The Seed Program.

Chives

Chives look and taste very much like young onion plants, to which they are closely related. Unlike onions, the plants are perennial, so they are more commonly planted in an herb garden then in the vegetable garden. Chives develop attractive lavender-blue "pom-pom" flowers, so they would be a nice addition to a flower garden as well.

Chives handle transplanting easily, and may be started indoors in late winter. Like onion seed, chive seed does not last too long, so start off with fresh seed. Chives form a clump of grass-like blades, rather than growing as individual plants. Mature bunches of chives should be divided every three years or so, and this is an easy way to get additional plants or to start off growing chives if you happen to know another gardener who has some.

The young, light green blades are the best for cooking. Cut individual blades back to about two inches from the ground, rather than snipping the ends off of the whole plant. Chives do not dry well, but can be frozen for year round use. A clump of chives can also be transferred to a pot and brought indoors for use during the winter.

Remember, if you are growing onions or leeks from seed, these can be started indoors in January or February and given "haircuts" to promote stockier plants. The cuttings taken from these other members of the onion family can be used just like chives, but they have a milder flavor.

For more crops, more complete gardening information, a garden journal and a planting schedule you can customize for your region, purchase The Seed Program!

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