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Plant a row of chives

28 July 2015

Plant a row of chives not only for their deliciously spicy green leaves, but also for their peppery edible flowers – gorgeous scattered over fresh summer salads.

You'll find chives by the generous potful on sale in our garden centre right now. Make sure you buy several, as they're one of those plants you can't have enough of as they're tremendously versatile in the garden: use them as a pretty edge for veg and flower beds, or dot them among your flowers for a sturdy green vertical accent topped with those pretty lilac-pink pompoms right through early summer.

They're also very easy to look after, growing in any free-drained soil in a sunny spot. All they need from you is a haircut in mid-summer, just after flowering, so they keep producing lots of that new tender growth that's so invaluable for the kitchen. Just take a pair of scissors and snip the whole lot off, leaves, spent flowers and all, about 5cm above soil level. Don't go lower than this or you'll cut into the growing crowns. Follow this treatment up by watering thoroughly using a liquid feed and top dressing with fresh compost to prompt them to burst into leaf again, ready for picking a few weeks later.

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