Chives are probably the easiest herb to grow. Chives are a perennial so they'll return every spring. They aren't fussy about soil conditions and will grow in full sun to light shade. Chives are the ideal herb for container gardens. In the autumn, dig up and pot a clump to bring indoors to a windowsill for winter harvests.
Chives are also very useful. In the kitchen, a quick snip and chop and you'll add a subtle onion freshness to salads. They are wonderful in scrambled eggs with a bit of cream cheese and on potatoes with sour cream or butter. Chives are a popular ingredient in herbal blends.
In the garden, chives are great companion plants that act as a deterrent to aphids on celery, lettuce, peas, and roses. They also help to prevent black spot on roses. An old saying is "Roses love garlic" which is true, but chives are just as beneficial and much more attractive.
Don't stop with the common chive (Allium schoenoprasum). Other, less common varieties have appealing characteristics. We particularly like garlic chives (Allium tuberosum), also known as Chinese leeks; they have a mild onion-garlic flavor and the pretty white flowers do not need to be cutback to avoid reseeding.
- Perennial crop returns every spring.
- Very easy to start from divisions (get one from a gardening pal or the farmers market). Growing from seed is also quite easy.
- Start 3-6 weeks before your average last spring frost date.
- Seed planting depth: ¼-½”.
- Ideal germinating temperature is 60-70 ° F.
- Average number of days until germination: 10-14.
Planting and Tending
- Plant in garden AFTER the last spring frost (dogwoods will be in full bloom). Soil temperature should be at least 55 -60 F to transplant.
- Allow 6” space around each plant.
- When harvesting, cut blades near the base to encourage new growth.
- Common chives will readily reseed, so be sure to cut them back after blooming before the seeds are dispersed. This is not an issue for garlic chives.
- Plant near:
- Do not plant near:
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You may also appreciate these books on growing herbs.