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Allium schoenoprasum, or simply chives, can be found in most kitchen gardens of self-sufficient and hobby gardeners. As a popular herb, it is easy to grow and has a high yield. But even if you don't have a garden or even a balcony of your own, you don't necessarily have to do without the popular natural spice. We explain how to sow chives in a pot and grow them on the proverbial windowsill in the kitchen.

location requirements

Regardless of whether you decide to grow it outdoors or indoors, it is worth taking a look at the general site conditions under which the popular leek plant thrives:

  • Sunny to semi-shady location
  • In full sun with protection from too intense summer sun
  • Comparatively high water requirement
  • Soil with high water storage capacity, but at the same time very good drainage capacity due to high susceptibility to root rot due to waterlogging
  • High nutrient content in the soil due to fast-growing plant with high requirements
  • Ideal soil composition therefore proportionally humus and sandy components, to increase the water storage capacity with loamy components
  • Preferred neutral to alkaline pH in soil and water, strong aversion to acidic environments
  • High affinity for lime, so it can be poured with tap water without any problems

chives in the apartment

The perfect care in closed rooms

Since plants naturally usually thrive outdoors, cultivating chives indoors naturally initially presents a difficulty that the hobby gardener must know how to deal with. However, this does not mean the end of growing in pots on the windowsill, as a consequence one should only place more value on the selection and provision of the most ideal possible site conditions. Because while individual points are often not ideal outdoors, these weaknesses can easily be compensated for by optimal conditions in other areas.

On the home window sill, on the other hand, there is a completely “artificial” growth environment, so to speak, in which all framework conditions have to be created and optimized in a targeted manner.

With these tips and examples for the perfect location indoors, however, it is easy to overcome this hurdle on the way to tasty home-grown seasoning vegetables:

location

  • bright location, for example a south-facing window sill
  • to protect against too intense solar radiation, if possible with shading options
  • due to mostly constantly high temperatures and a lack of (cooling) wind in living rooms, it is better to shade them early than to risk dryness, overheating and burning due to excessive solar radiation

floor

  • Mix the desired soil quality for the plant pot
  • approx. 2/4 humus, 1/4 sand, 1/4 loamy components (e.g. garden soil/ topsoil)

plant pot

  • Choose a pot large enough to provide enough nutrients and water reservoirs
  • no specific pot shape required for roots, so can be adapted to any location
  • Provide drainage holes in the bottom of the pot to prevent waterlogging and cover the holes with potsherds or stones to prevent the soil from being washed out

ventilation

  • Excessive drying out by wind in the interior mostly irrelevant
  • instead choose a location with ventilation options to avoid excessive waterlogging and permanent moisture on the stems
  • for example near windows or balcony doors

sowing

The source of all growth

When it comes to sowing and rearing, chives are particularly easy-going and undemanding. Just as it is simply sown directly into the soil outdoors at a given time, sowing can also be done indoors directly in the intended plant pot. The seeds should be lightly pressed into the soil to ensure constant moisture and good germination, or covered with a thin layer of soil. On the other hand, transplanting, pricking out or other care measures in the course of growth are not necessary. The most important requirement for a good development of chives from sowing to harvesting is to ensure constant environmental conditions and the provision of sufficient light, moisture, nutrients and ventilation.

Fertilize

Without nutrients there is no yield

While the issues of light, air and moisture can be easily managed through a consciously chosen location and regular care of the plant, the supply of nutrients takes a back seat. Because where a dry soil in the plant pot immediately catches the eye, a lack of nutrients usually only becomes apparent when the chives have already been damaged.

The fact that the nutrient reservoir in the plant pot is also significantly limited compared to outdoor locations should ensure the qualitative and quantitative nutrient supply of the plant through targeted soil improvements be taken into account:

  • Before sowing: incorporate humus soil or compost into the potting soil
  • During rearing: regular, moderate doses of organic vegetable fertilizer, for example by adding it to the irrigation water
  • Lime: When using calcareous tap water as irrigation water, no additional doses are usually required, with very low-lime water before sowing and once or twice during growth, add lime with garden lime or comparable preparations

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