The mild-mannered member
of the onion family – its grass-like stems
can be cut from March to October to improve the
flavour of many dishes. Much of its value is lost
by drying – for winter use grow a pot or
two indoors or freeze by the ice-cube method.
Chives can be raised from seed sown in March but
it is easier to plant pot-grown specimens in spring
or autumn. Space the clumps 9in (23cm) apart and
divide every 3 or 4 years. Water the plants regularly
– the ideal situation is moist soil and
full sun. For the kitchen cut the grassy leaves
to within an inch of soil level – never
snip off the tips and never leave the flower-heads
to open if you want a regular supply of leaves.
It is, however, an attractive perennial and is
sometimes grown as an edging plant in the border
to produce thrift-like flowers for display and
some leaves for the kitchen.
A herb with many uses – add finely-chopped
chives to potato salad, stuffed eggs, soups, salads,
omelettes, cream cheese and sauces. Obviously
a herb which everyone should grow.