Fresh herbs year round, growing right in your own kitchen are the kitchen gardeners dream and it is not an overly difficult project. Chives are a common herb that can be grown indoors, but there are a few caveats and tips to be aware of.
Common sense dictates that you start with a suitable container[s] that is well draining and large enough to host the full size of the plant[s]. The potting mix should be kept moist but not soggy, a blend with vermiculite or perlite is best. Avoid any high nitrogen fertilizers, and fertilize lightly when you do use any fertilizer. Heavy fertilizer applications will adversely affect the taste of the chives.
Prior to germination it is best to not pour water over the soil, but rather you should use a mister to keep the soil reasonably moist [not saturated].
Light for Indoor Chives
A Sun drenched location is needed for successful propagation of indoor chives, a southern exposure is best, chives will thrive on abundant sunlight. Assuming that your chives are receiving vertical light as they do in a window and not horizontal light as they would under a skylight, it is advisable to rotate them periodically to promote equal growth.
Artificial light will suffice for growing chives, but it should be 'plant friendly' light. Fluorescent lights work well so long as they are adequately spaced from the plants. I wouldn't advise standard light bulbs as they do not provide a sufficient light spectrum conducive to plant growth. See Grow Lights
Optimal Temperature and Humidity for Chives
Windows are sometimes prone to cold drafts in the deep winter, so you'll want to take steps to ensure your plants receive adeqaute warmth. Chives will grow in a wide range of temperatures anywhere from from 40 F to 85 F. Best results however are achieved around 65 to 75 F for growth and 60 to 70 for germination.
Humidity is vital, indoor heating system leech humidity out of the air. Most modern buildings usually have no more than 15% humidity at most. Humidity is vital for chives to flourish. Significantly increasing humidity indoors is good for all plants , but it's not good for you or your home unless of course you like mold, mildew, bacteria, mites and so forth.
There are a number of ways you can increase humidity for the plants without seriously damaging your personal environment.
1. You can add moisture with a humidifier.
2. Cluster your plants in tight groups. All Plants naturally exhale moisture through their leaves in a process known as transpiration. By grouping indoor plants together, you add to a more suitable environment in the immediate growing area.
3. Misting the plants with a simple spray bottle is good way to help them cope with the indoor environment.
4. Humidity Trays can add moisture and will enhance the development of indoor plants, a pebble filled tray with water added to the top of the pebbles. As the water gradually evaporates, it raises the humidity in its immediate vicinity enough to improve conditions for your chives and other indoor plants.
Pests are generally not a major issue with indoor chives as their aroma acts as a natural repellent in most cases. Of course there are exceptions to every rule so in the event of insect activity a simple spray of soapy water will generally remedy the situation.
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