How to Grow Chives in Australia

Quick Guide: Growing Chives

  • Optimal Growing Temperatures: Between 10°C and 30°C.
  • Ready to Harvest: 7-11 weeks after planting.
  • Space Between Plants: Plant 5 cm apart.
  • Companion Plants: Carrots, Tomatoes, Parsley
  • Non-Companion Plants: None
  • Plant Type: Seed.

When to Plant Chives in Australia

Australia Map

Tropical

Best planting months for Chives in the Tropical regions are March to July. This includes areas like Cairns, Darwin, and Broome.

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Subtropical

For the Subtropical region, Chives can be planted all year round. Cities in the Subtropical region include Brisbane, Central Coast, and Sydney.

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Temperate

Chives can be planted from January to May and August to December in the Temperate regions of Australia. Cities in the Temperate region include Melbourne, Adelaide, Geelong, and Perth.

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Cool

For the Cool region, Chives can be planted from January to April and September to December. Cities in the Cool region include alpine regions of Victoria and Tasmania.

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Arid

Best planting months for Chives in the Arid region is from January to March and June to December.

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Getting Started with Chives

If you're ready to unleash your green thumb and grow chives in Australia, getting started is easier than you might think. In this section, we'll cover two essential aspects of growing chives: choosing the right location and selecting the right soil.

Choosing the Right Location

Chives thrive in areas that receive ample sunlight. Find a spot in your garden that gets at least six hours of direct sunlight each day. This will ensure that your chives receive the necessary light to grow and flourish.

Additionally, consider the climate in your region. Chives are known to be hardy plants that can tolerate a range of temperatures. They prefer cooler temperatures but can still grow well in warmer climates. However, if you're located in an area with extremely hot summers, providing some shade during the hottest parts of the day can help protect your chives from excessive heat.

Selecting the Right Soil

Chives are not too fussy when it comes to soil, but they do prefer a well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. Before planting your chives, prepare the soil by incorporating compost or well-rotted manure to improve its fertility and drainage. This will provide the chives with the necessary nutrients to thrive.

To ensure optimal growth, aim for a soil pH between 6.0 and 7.0. If your soil is too acidic, you can add lime to raise the pH level. On the other hand, if your soil is too alkaline, adding organic matter like compost or peat moss can help lower the pH. Conducting a soil test can provide more precise information about the pH level of your soil and guide you in making the necessary adjustments.

Now that you have chosen the right location and prepared the soil, you are ready to move on to the next step: planting chives. In the next section, we will explore different propagation methods and guide you through the process of sowing chive seeds or planting chive transplants.

Before you know it, you'll be enjoying the fresh, vibrant flavor of homegrown chives in your culinary creations. So let's get planting and watch your chives thrive!

Planting Chives

When it comes to growing chives in Australia, there are a few different methods you can use for planting. In this section, I will cover three common propagation methods: propagation, sowing chive seeds, and planting chive transplants.

Propagation Methods

Propagation is the process of creating new chive plants from existing ones. There are two primary methods of propagation: division and root cuttings.

Division involves separating the clumps of chives into smaller sections, each with their own roots. This is typically done in early spring or autumn when the plants are not actively growing. To propagate chives through division, follow these steps:

  1. Dig up the chive clump, being careful not to damage the roots.
  2. Gently separate the clump into smaller sections, ensuring that each section has roots and foliage.
  3. Replant the divided sections in well-prepared soil, spacing them about 15-20 centimetres apart.
  4. Water the newly planted divisions thoroughly and continue to care for them as you would with established chive plants.

Root cuttings involve taking small sections of the chive roots and planting them to develop new plants. Here's how you can propagate chives using root cuttings:

  1. Dig up the chive clump and look for thicker, healthy roots.
  2. Cut the roots into 5-7 centimeter sections.
  3. Plant the root cuttings horizontally in a well-prepared soil mix, covering them with a thin layer of soil.
  4. Water the cuttings gently and keep the soil moist until new shoots emerge.

Sowing Chive Seeds

Sowing chive seeds is another popular method of growing chives. This method allows you to start fresh with new plants. Here's how you can sow chive seeds:

  1. Prepare a seed tray or small pots with well-draining soil mix.
  2. Sow the chive seeds thinly and cover them with a thin layer of soil.
  3. Lightly water the soil to ensure moisture.
  4. Place the tray or pots in a warm location with indirect sunlight.
  5. Keep the soil consistently moist, but avoid overwatering.
  6. Once the seedlings have grown to a suitable size (around 5 centimetres), transplant them into individual pots or directly into the garden.

Planting Chive Transplants

If you prefer a quicker way to start growing chives, you can also purchase chive transplants from a nursery or garden centre. Here's how you can plant chive transplants:

  1. Prepare the planting area by ensuring the soil is well-drained and enriched with organic matter.
  2. Dig a hole slightly larger than the root ball of the chive transplant.
  3. Place the transplant in the hole, making sure the top of the root ball is level with the soil surface.
  4. Backfill the hole with soil, gently firming it around the roots.
  5. Water the transplants thoroughly after planting and continue to keep the soil evenly moist.

By using one of these planting methods, you can start growing your own chives and enjoy their fresh flavors in your cooking. Next, we will explore how to care for chives to ensure healthy growth and bountiful harvests.

Caring for Chives

To ensure the healthy growth and abundant harvest of chives, proper care is essential. This includes watering, fertilising, and managing pests and diseases.

Watering Chives

Chives require regular watering to keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Proper watering helps to promote healthy growth and prevent the plants from drying out. As a general guideline, aim to provide around 1 inch (2.5 cm) of water per week, either through rainfall or manual watering.

To determine if your chives need watering, check the moisture level of the soil by sticking your finger about an inch into the soil. If it feels dry at that depth, it's time to water. It's important to note that overwatering can lead to root rot, so be mindful not to saturate the soil excessively.

Fertilising Chives

Chives benefit from regular fertilisation to provide them with the necessary nutrients for optimal growth. Fertilising can be done in the early spring, just as new growth begins. A balanced organic fertiliser, such as a 10-10-10 or 14-14-14 blend, can be applied according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Alternatively, you can feed your chives with compost or well-rotted manure, which enriches the soil with organic matter and nutrients. Apply a thin layer around the base of the plants, avoiding direct contact with the leaves, and gently work it into the soil. This natural feeding method can be repeated every few months to maintain soil fertility.

Managing Pests and Diseases

While chives are generally resistant to pests and diseases, occasional problems may arise. Managing pests and diseases promptly is crucial to maintain the health of your chive plants. Here are a few common issues and their remedies:

  • Aphids: These small insects can cluster on the leaves and stems, sucking sap from the plant. To control aphids, rinse the affected areas with a strong stream of water or use an insecticidal soap according to the instructions.
  • Fungal Diseases: Chives can be susceptible to fungal diseases such as powdery mildew and rust. To prevent these diseases, ensure proper air circulation around the plants by spacing them appropriately. If signs of fungal infection appear, remove the affected parts and apply a suitable organic fungicide following the product instructions.
  • Onion Fly: The larvae of onion flies can damage chive plants by burrowing into the bulbs. To deter these pests, consider using floating row covers or insect netting to create a physical barrier.

By providing adequate watering, regular fertilisation, and addressing any pest or disease issues, you can maintain healthy and thriving chive plants. These care practices will contribute to a bountiful harvest of fresh chives for all your culinary creations. For more information on growing other vegetables and herbs, check out our articles on how to grow swedes in Australia, how to grow eddoe in Australia, and how to grow cassava in Australia.

Harvesting and Using Chives

Growing chives in your own garden is a rewarding experience, and now it's time to reap the benefits of your hard work. In this section, we will cover when and how to harvest chives, as well as how to make the most of this versatile herb in your cooking.

When to Harvest Chives

Chives can be harvested once they have reached a height of around 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 cm). Typically, this occurs approximately 60 to 80 days after planting, depending on the growing conditions. The best time to harvest chives is in the morning when the leaves are at their freshest. However, you can harvest them at any time during the growing season.

Harvesting Chives

To harvest chives, simply snip the leaves near the base using a pair of sharp scissors or garden shears. It's important not to cut the leaves too close to the ground, as this can hinder the regrowth of the plant. Leave about 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5 cm) of the leaves above the soil level to allow for continued growth.

Remember that chives are a perennial herb, meaning they will continue to grow back each year. By regularly harvesting the leaves, you can encourage new growth and ensure a continuous supply of fresh chives throughout the growing season. If you want to know more about herbs and vegetables, you can read more in our A-Z guides. 

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