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28/11/2013 at 10:29

When I moved into my current house I found amongst the weeds two pots of mud. Not knowing if they held perhaps some rare beautiful delights only ever seen in South Yorkshire / the only flowers to be found in the garden I... put them in the corner and promptly forgot about them until Spring.

Turned out that they are Allium schoenoprasum (aka Chives)

This year they produced a beautiful display despite my largely ignoring them occasionally trimming / drowning them. However now they are looking, well unhappy, which has gotten me thinking.

How are you meant to over winter them? Do they normally die back completely and leave bare soil? Should I trim the limp green remains or leave them to do whatever it is they do? Do they tolerate frost happily? (Bearing in mind they spent several weeks under six inches of snow here)

Thank you for your words of wisdom!

28/11/2013 at 11:01

Hi Clarngton, chives are tough as old boots - they die down completely in the winter and one of the first signs spring on one of the first few sunny days is the tiny spears of brilliant green pushing up through the soil. 

They benefit from being divided regularly - I divide mine every spring when they're about 4" tall - I started off with three little clumps and now I have a border of chives all the way around my herb garden.

You could try bringing one of your pots into the house and keep it on the kitchen windowsill and it might keep going through the winter, to provide you with chives for your scrambled egg and smoked salmon on Christmas morning - but it would tire the plant and it wouldn't do so well for the rest of the year.  

I'd rather buy one of the pots from the supermarket to keep indoors for the winter, then in the spring I'd split it into several clumps and pot them up or plant them out in the garden - they'd soon build up again and by next year you'll have a border of chives as thick and luscious as mine 

28/11/2013 at 11:20

Thanks ever so much Dove!

I think I'll rest (read put them back into a corner of the garden and most likely forget about them again) them this winter since they've not been fed much (and I don't know how long they've been in the pots) and divide / repot them in the spring and plan for a winter supply next year!

I really like the idea of a chive border! I hadn't thought of using them like that (I adore the flowers on these). May have to rethink my plans a little...

I currently have a large wooden three tier planter like this:

http://www.homebase.co.uk/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?langId=110&storeId=10151&partNumber=002584

that I was going to use to form the basis of my herb garden next to the BBQ / dining area with perhaps another planter made to the same specification (also I've now seen the idea of having herbs together in a pot that compliment meat / fish / vegetable meals so my plans have already expanded rapidly!) That way I can change the pots around easily to ensure a constant supply / rest by having a second set to swap over as required.

Oh the possibilities!

28/11/2013 at 11:23
28/11/2013 at 11:40

Gosh that looks beautiful!!!

KEF
28/11/2013 at 13:55

My pot of garlic chives go into a cold GH and survive.

28/11/2013 at 14:01

We just snip off a large  handful of leaves in summer and freeze them as they are for winter use.

28/11/2013 at 14:20
Berghill wrote (see)

We just snip off a large  handful of leaves in summer and freeze them as they are for winter use.

Thanks Berghill. I've frozen many of my other herbs to keep us going over winter but it hadn't occurred to me to do it with the chives. Something to remember for next year!

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