I love growing chives! They look great, smell wonderful, and add such flavor to most dishes I create in the kitchen. These little green sprigs make an excellent garnish as well, even if you don’t like the taste of them. Here are 5 tips on growing chives at any time of year.
5. Choose Your Location
The nice thing about chives is that you don’t need a lot of space to grow them. You can plant them in among other plants in the garden or in a window box. I have some growing in my flower garden and they seem to do very well there.
4. Don’t Plant the Seeds to Deep
Chive seeds are very tiny, so they don’t need to be buried deep in the ground. Make sure the soil is loose and sprinkle the seeds on top of the ground. Apply a thin layer of dirt over the top of the seeds. It will be hard to spot the seeds, since they are dark like the dirt itself.
3. Water the Seeds Well
You’ll have to take care when watering the seeds right after planting. It’s very easy to end up with a pile of seeds instead of keeping them scattered throughout the planting area. I use a misting bottle to water the seeds until they begin to sprout. The soil should be kept a bit moist until they sprout, then you can ease up a bit on the watering.
2. Give Them Lots of Sunshine
Full sun will help your chives grow to be dark green and healthy. The sun will warm the dirt, which is needed to help the seeds sprout. If you notice your chives are a bit pale, check on the amount of sunshine they are getting. A pale green color is often associated with not enough sun or too much water.
1. Harvest before Flowers Appear
All parts of the chive plant are edible, even the flowers. However, the green portions of the chives taste best when they are used before the flowers appear. You can crumble the flowers on a salad for a light chive taste and a bit of color, but the stalk will be almost flavorless.
I mostly have chives that give off purple blossoms when they are fully grown, but one variety has white blossoms and the stalks are a bit flatter. I seem to remember being told these were garlic chives, which would explain the hint of garlic flavor tasted when these chives are eaten. If you’ve grown chives in the past, did you find them easy to get started? Are you interested in growing chives for cooking purposes or just to add some dimension to your garden?
Top Photo Credit: Pat Kilkenny