Chives: Care, cultivation and harvest of the popular aromatic herb

Chives are almost indispensable as a seasoning herb in the kitchen. It can be easily planted in the herb garden, but also in a pot on the window sill. In the garden, chives even have an additional benefit: their strong smell is said to drive away pests.

overview
  • Sow and plant chives
  • Richer chive harvest
  • Freeze the chives
  • Divide the chives in spring
  • Fend off pests with chives

If you want to harvest chives for consumption, you should remove the flower stalks regularly. But if you also appreciate the decorative properties of chives, you can let the plant bloom. The flowers of some types of chives can even be eaten.

Sow and plant chives

In order for the plant to thrive, it needs moist and loose soil. In addition, the location should be sunny or at least partially shaded. Nutrient-rich, calcareous soils are also beneficial.

Find out here which soil is good for your herb cultivation.

For sowing, it is sufficient to scatter the black seeds of the plant in loose soil. Covered with a little soil and well watered, perennial plants develop quickly. Early April is recommended for sowing. Up to 300 seeds can be planted on an area of ​​just over one meter. The germination time is between seven and fourteen days. The plant can grow up to 50 centimeters high.

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A richer chive crop without flowers

The plant provides leaves that are ready for harvest almost all year round. For harvesting, you should cut the leaves at a height of two centimeters from the ground. In addition, it is advisable to remove all green in good time before the first onset of winter.

Although the onion is hardy, you should use a suitable tarpaulin or a few coniferous branches as frost protection. This not only provides additional protection for the chives, but also allows them to germinate again early in the spring. So you can start harvesting as early as April.
Chives: Plant the herbs in individual pots so that you can give them away. (Source: imago images / Jochen Tack)Chives: Plant the herbs in individual pots so that you can give them away. (Source: Jochen Tack / imago images)

So that the harvest is and remains particularly abundant, you should break out the inflorescences. Through this care measure an even stronger leaf growth develops.

Freeze the chives

If you’ve harvested too much chives, you can also freeze them.

  1. Rinse the chives with water.
  2. Pat the straws dry with a soft cloth.
  3. Cut it as finely as you can then best process it further.
  4. Fill the small chives rolls loosely into a sealable one Food storage containerthat is freezer safe.

Important
Use household scissors for dividing. A knife can squeeze the parts of the plant. This makes the chives more difficult to preserve.

Freeze the chives, pre-portioned

Alternatively, you can freeze the chopped chives in a container for ice cubes. This has the advantage that you can portion it out better.

  1. Put the chopped cabbage in the Ice cube tray.
  2. Pour some water into the individual cube cells.

Instead of water, you can fill the molds with a concentrated salad marinade – but without oil. After thawing, this can be added to the herbs along with a little water.

Attention
You should defrost the chives completely so that they can be used. You can only process it when the rolls are soft.

Divide the chives in spring

In spring you should divide the plant. If chives are not regularly reduced in size, the stalks grow finer and more hesitant. It is enough to divide the chives every three years. To do this, get the group of plants with a spade or a Grabegabel from the earth. Then cut the root ball apart with a sharp knife. The smaller parts are planted individually in the bed or in pots and then poured vigorously. Even with chives in the pot, it makes sense to divide, otherwise the space will be too tight.

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Fend off pests with chives

Chives help the plants around them by their very presence. For example, roses are less prone to rust fungus if chives thrive next to them. Carrots are also not attacked by the carrot fly as quickly if chives grow nearby.

The honey bee flies over the chive blossom: you should no longer consume blooming herbs. (Source: Getty Images / poem4myself)The honey bee flies over the chive blossom: you should no longer consume blooming herbs. (Source: poem4myself / Getty Images)

In addition, the herb plant should be placed in the right places to protect surrounding plants from powdery mildew. The fungal infestation must only be at the beginning and not yet have broken out heavily. It is better to place the chives next to plants susceptible to powdery mildew beforehand. You can also achieve the same effect with the garlic plant.