Hardy, easy to grow, the onion species enjoys great popularity among gardeners. Also called owls or “appetites”, this spice, a cousin of Plant Chives, is an aromatic plant of choice for growing at the edge of the vegetable patch, in a pot or planter installed on the kitchen windowsill, so that you have it at all times. When and how to sow it or divide an existing clump to propagate it?
Live, the onion species grows in tufts of thin, aromatic leaves with a fresh onion flavor. In late spring, elegant pink pom-poms of honey-rich flowers crown its compact tufts. With the approach of the bad season, the plant rests, its foliage dries up and disappears completely.
Where to grow it?
the onion species likes cool, fertile soil and full sun. It can also combine business with pleasure! Place it at the edge of the vegetable garden, along with matching strawberries. On the ground, it also likes the leg of fruit trees, without competing with them.
In a pot or planter
On a windowsill or on a balcony, ideally in close proximity to the kitchen. Plant the chives in a 20 cm diameter pot or in a large planter. To create a beautiful combination of aromatic plants (thyme, rosemary, savory, oregano, etc.), prepare a mixture of equal parts of classic potting soil and garden soil. Above all, properly drain the bottom of the container using a layer of gravel.
Easy to sow and not too demanding, chives also like the edge of the vegetable garden or an alley. At the end of June it blooms its beautiful pom-pom flowers.
How to sow chives?
Little practice due to the ease of dividing chive seedlings is however very simple to perform. During April:
- Prepare the host soil: reduce lumps, break up the earth and enrich with compost.
- Dig a shallow trench along a chalk line.
- plus the small seeds then cover with fine, dry soil. Plumb with the back of the rake.
- Water in light rain, no soaking.
Germination is a bit long, about 15 days, so remember to keep the soil moist.
After emergence, watch for infestations of small slugs that feast on young seedlings.
How to split chives?
division is the most classic way, but also the fastest, to multiply this aromatic herb. In March/April or October:
- With the spade fork lever or using a spade with a trowel, completely remove a beautiful root.
- Make a slit in the middle with a knife and carefully untangle the chives and roots with your hands.
- Immediately transplant each chip elsewhere, 20 cm apart, without burying the collar, in grass enriched with mature compost.
- Finish with a generous watering.
What maintenance to plan?
Like all other alliaceae, the onion species is satisfied with the initial nutrient properties of the soil, so it is useless to bring any fertilizer to it.
To encourage the production of more leaves, some gardeners do not hesitate to cut the flowers into pom poms as soon as they form. However, this deprives insects of a food source, the ones that love chives’ small purple flowers.
Regular carving and weeding is required. Weeds, especially dandelion, often take root in the heart of chive clumps and are stubborn to dislodge.
Watering is unnecessary, except during very dry periods. To keep feet cool all summer long, mulch is beneficial. Be careful because, on the contrary, too much water or soil is very solid cause rotten chives !
When and how to harvest chives?
From March to October, depending on the needs, we cut the necessary leaves with scissors to half their height, preferably early in the morning. Never again, so that the plant does not run out!
Fresh onion flavor
the chives flowers are eaten a lot. They have a stronger flavor than the leaves. Use them to enrich salads and bring colorful notes.
Finely chopped leaves enhance white meats, raw vegetables, omelettes…
Also read on the same topic:
➥ How to grow tarragon?
➥ Onions, onions: planting, maintenance, cultivation