Growing chives outside the back door or in the herb garden is an easy way to have fresh mild onions for cooking.
I love to grow chives not only for the fresh flavor they add to dishes but because they are so pretty in the garden.
Chives are a hardy perennial that grows in zones 3 through 10.
I don’t have to worry about a harsh winter wiping them out. They come back every year spreading into larger clumps.
Chives a member of the allium family have a mild onion flavor. They grow in clumps with round hollow leaves that grow 12 to 18 inches in height. Purple globe shaped blooms form in late summer which is edible.
Photo by Captain-Tucker
Garlic chives have flat hollow leaves with a mild garlic flavor. Star shaped white flowers form in the late summer.
The flowers can also be eaten in salads and as a garnish.
Both kinds of chives add interest to the herb, vegetable or flower garden. Easy to grow you can start chives from seed, from plants bought from your local nursery and from division of mature plants.
Established plants can easily be divided and replanted in other areas of the yard or shared with friends.
Garlic seeds are small and black similar to onions. They are easy to start indoors but need cool moist soil. Start them in the late winter because they take a long time to get started.
Sprinkle the tiny seeds on top of moisten starting soil in individual pots. Lightly press the seeds down into the moist soil with your finger.
Cover the top of the pots with a cover to keep the light out. The chive seeds need darkness to germinate. After the seeds emerge and germinate take off the cover and place them under an indoor light source or by a sunny window.
In about 8 to 10 weeks the seedlings can be planted into the garden. Chives can be planted outside in early spring and through out the summer.
Place them in a sunny or partial shaded area. They look fragile in the beginning but quickly grow to a nice size plant by the end of the summer.
Chives will soon develop into a nice clump of onions. To divide your growing chives dig up the chive clump and separate the bulbs out and replant in small groups of 5 to 6 bulbs per group.
Space the chive groupings about 12 inches apart. It won’t take long for these new groups to spread.
Chives can be harvested though out the growing season. The flowers can be eaten and look nice in a salad. Take a handful of chives and snip off the leaves 2 inches above the ground. Dried chives do not have much flavor so using the chives fresh is recommended.
Chives can be repotted in the fall and grown inside during the winter. In the fall take a division from a mature grouping and repot into a container. Place the chives in a sunny window or under indoor lights. Trim off chives leaves as you need them.
You can keep a few pots in a cold frame or cold house during the winter. When you need a fresh pot of chives bring them in from the cold frame. This is a great way to have a supply all winter.
In the spring the chives can be planted out into the garden again.