Learning Download: How to Grow Chives
Chives are an easy-to-grow herb that can add a punch of flavor to many dishes. Both onion and garlic chives can be grown and used in the kitchen. Chives are a member of the lily family with flavorful leaves and flowers, which bloom purple. The flowers are edible as well and can be floated in soups. Chives grow best in clumps, and they can be grown in small pots for a container garden.
Before Planting: Chives can be planted from seed or from divisions. Begin chives indoors eight weeks before the last frost. Transplant chives to the garden when the sprouts reach 6 inches in height.
Planting: If planting from seed, plant the seed ¼ inch deep and water well. Chives can be grown outdoors or indoors near a window. If planting inside, keep the pot in a dark area until the seeds sprout, and then move to a windowsill. If planting seeds directly outside, wait until all dangers of frost have passed.
Watering: Water chives consistently and add mulch to retain moisture and deter weeds.
Fertilizer: Prior to planting the chives, mix 4 to 6 inches of organic compost into the soil and apply 2 to 3 tablespoons of an all-purpose fertilizer, 16-16-8, per square foot of planting area. If you frequently harvest the chives, fertilize every other week with plant food or fish emulsion.
Days to Maturity: Chives are ready to harvest as soon as the leaves are long enough to clip and use in the kitchen. Chives are ready to harvest typically 60 days after planting the seeds.
Harvesting: Cut the chives from the outside of the clump, leave a half-inch of stem. To encourage more leaves on the chive plant, pinch off the flower bud.
Tips: Chives are perennial plants, and they are more productive if frequently divided. Every three years, divide the plants in the spring.