Is there anything as easy to grow as chives? Doubt it. Grow from seed, even better if you can get a few bulbs from a friend. Within a season you'll be splitting the bulbs, making yourself a bigger display.

In fact, you'll need to divide the plants every three or four years to keep them productive. And it's a good idea to cut plants back monthly during the growing seasons to maintain a steady supply of fresh stalks. If you cut back alternate plants every fortnight that will ensure you have a constant supply. That's about the only maintenance required.

Look great planted in a pot even before the bright purple flowers burst forth in May. Drying the flowers prolongs their use. I use them for decorative edging, as shown above on my allotment. They're great for attracting bees.

Milder in taste than onions or garlic, not only are a few chopped stalks great with cheese, potatoes or to liven up a salad, they season dishes with their more subtle onion flavour. The flowers are edible too. Rich in vitamins A and C, calcium and iron, their medicinal properties are like garlic, but weaker. So eating chives is good for you. They're good for other crops too. Planting chives between carrots repels unwanted bugs.

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