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April 2, 2009
Onion Chives is a grassy-leaved perennial, with round, hollow leaves and bright little pinkish-mauve pom-poms of flowers in the spring, summer, and sometimes even autumn. If you want the plant for decoration only, by all means let it flower, but keep a few clumps for culinary use, and nip off the flowers as they appear. The plant will grow better and bushier the more it is picked for use. Unfortunately, chives die right down during the really cold weather, although, with judicious autumn feeding, I have sometimes kept them growing right through a mild winter. Pick the very last green leaves in early winter and enjoy them, then put a stake beside the clump and watch for regrowth in early spring. The chives which “disappear” from a garden usually get dug up and damaged during deep digging or garden re-planning in winter. Put that stake in, tie a flag on it saying “Chives”; then, come the first warm weather, you can lift the newly shooting clump, divide it if you wish, and make either a decorative border or a family medicine chest for the coming season.
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