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What a tantalizing aroma…onions, garlic, chives, and leeks sizzling in a pan. This combination of kitchen herbs is the basis of many culinary masterpieces. While these traditional seasonings delight our taste buds, they can make our pets very sick. Here is what dog owners and amateur chefs should know about this fearsome foursome. All four species of herbs belong to the Allium family and have been kitchen staples for ages.


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Make a donation. A low-maintenance perennial herb, chives are mainly grown for their leaves, which add a mild oniony flavour to a wide range of savoury dishes. They make an attractive edging for herb beds and borders, and grow well in containers, in sun or light shade. Their pink pompom flowers are also edible, adding colour to sal. In early spring, sow a few seeds thinly in small pots or modular trays filled with seed compost. Cover with a thin layer of vermiculite, then water gently.

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Place in a heated propagator or cover with a clear plastic bag and place somewhere warm to germinate. Once the tiny grass-like seedlings appear, remove from the propagator or uncover, then place in a warm bright location to grow on. Large plants can often be divided into several smaller clumps when planted out.

Potted plants bought in supermarkets or garden centres can be planted straight outside from spring onwards. Chives prefer moisture-retentive, well-drained soil and a sunny or partially shaded spot. They can also be grown in large pots of soil-based compost, either on their own or in a mixed herb display. Chives are incredibly easy to maintain.

Just keep them well watered, especially during long dry spells in summer. Snip off any faded leaves and spent flowers. Rejuvenate large clumps every few years by lifting and dividing into several smaller clumps in spring.

By renee schmid, dvm & ahna brutlag, dvm, ms, dabt, dabvt pet poison helpline; lynn buzhardt, dvm

Chives grow to about 30cm 1ft tall. They die back naturally in late autumn, and re-sprout in spring. Look for colonies of greenfly on the soft shoot tips of plants or on leaves. They suck sap and excrete sticky honeydew, encouraging the growth of black sooty moulds.

This is a fungal disease causing bright yellow spots on the leaves. It is often worse in long, wet spells. There is no control for rust once you have the infection. You can harvest chives from early summer until they start to die back in autumn. To keep chives productive, remove faded flowers or use the edible blooms when young to brighten sal.

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Chives are best used fresh. Pop out cubes whenever you need them. Buy chives. Take action Why take action?

Pic #78 gives your eyes a sweet tooth because it’s pure eye candy.

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Environmentally friendly gardening. Plant health. Take part in our research. Meet the team. Shop plants rhsplants. Shopping with the RHS. Help us achieve our goals Make a donation. the RHS today and support our charity now. Save to My scrapbook. Jobs to do now Remove leaves as they die back.

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Sow In early spring, sow a few seeds thinly in small pots or modular trays filled with seed compost. Common problems Aphids. Common Allium schoenoprasum The classic chive. A clump or clumps of mid-green, thin cylindrical, erect, hollow stems carrying deep pink globular flowers in summer.

Height and spread 30cm. Stems have a chive-onion flavour and the edible flowers a burst of this flavour. Fat Leaf Allium cepa Cepa Group 'Quattro' A newer variety with broad flat leaves and a sweet-onion chive flavour carrying a hint of garlic. A mauve pink flowered form, this is absolutely delicious in sal, stir fries and risottos. Fine Leaved Allium schoenoprasum fine leaved A finer version of common chives with thinner softer stems and a slightly milder flavour.

The form is a little denser and again pink flowered. All culinary uses, perhaps the chive for sauces and soups.

Garlic Allium tuberosum A thin flat leaved chive with white globular flowers and a strong garlic taste. Siberian Allium nutans Also known as blue flowered chives. A culinary chive with flat, nodding, green leaves and flower globes of star shaped mauve blue flowers.

All parts carry a mild garlic chive-onion flavour. Buy now. the RHS today and get 12 months for the price of 9.

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This chive butter bread is one of the best vegan brioche recipes on my blog.