Instructions for Growing Chives
How to Grow Chives in Your Garden
*** Growing Chives is: EASY ***
Chives are a perennial herb that will grow in most garden soils and climates. In moderate gardening climates, they stay green year round. In climates with cold winters, chives will die back for the winter, but grow again the following spring.
Chives have been used as a culinary herb for around 5,000 years. They're commonly used to flavor cheeses, fish, sauces, and egg dishes. They're also used as a garnish, and to flavor salad dressings and soups. The chopped chive leaves are the primary part of the plant used, but the flowers and bulbs also can be eaten. The dried chive flowers are often used in ornamental bouquets.
Chives can be used as for organic insect control. Ancient farmers practiced companion gardening by planting chives strategically throughout their flower beds to keep insects away from their plants. The juice from chive leaves is also a good option for an organic "herb tea" treatment for troubled plants, as the juice (besides being an insect repellant) can fight mildew and fungus.
Lastly, as another benefit to growing chives throughout your vegetable garden, bees find chive flowers irresistible. Thus growing chives will help bring these very important pollinators to your garden!
Chives provide: Dietary fiber, Vitamin A, C, B6, K, Folate, Iron, Thiamin, Zinc, Niacin, Riboflavin, Calcium, Copper, Manganese, Potassium, Magnesium
Chives have the same basic health / medicinal properties as garlic, but to a much smaller effect. Most notably, they can help reduce blood pressure.
For a healthy crop, try growing chives in full sun (to part sun) locations in your garden.
Chives will grow well in a pot, as a member of your container garden. When growing chives in a pot, watch to make sure the soil doesn't dry out. Feed your plants with a monthly dose of fertilizer, throughout the growing season. You may wish to consider using "compost tea" or "manure tea" as an organic fertilizer. Be sure to take your chives indoors in the fall, as they're less tolerant of cold temperatures when grown in pots. Also, this way you get to enjoy chives through the winter!
Garden soil with a pH of 6.0-7.0 is best for growing chives. (Information on how to test your garden plot's soil pH level.) Before planting, enrich the soil with organic compost.
Make sure that the garden plot for your chives is free of weeds, as chives have a difficult time competing with other plants.
Chives are generally propagated by division. Divide established clumps (in the fall, or spring) every 3 to 4 years to form new plants. To divide chives, gently dig up the clump and separate the bulbs into new plants, of approximately 5 bulbs per plant. Then replant (or give away the extras!).
If growing chives from seed, sow chive seeds in the spring and cover with a light compost or seed starter. Be sure to keep the garden soil moist until you see the growing seedlings appear (normally within 10 days). Chives grow best in bunches, so thin your plants to approximately 6 plants per bunch, leaving at least 1 foot of space between bunches.
Chives do not need constant watering. Water only when the soil has dried out.
How to Grow Chives - Fertilizing
If you prepared your chive garden bed by digging in compost, you shouldn't need to fertilize for the entire growing season. Otherwise, water in fertilizer (consider an organic fertilizer such as compost tea or manure tea) once a month.
Gardening Tips for Growing Chives - If you're growing chives in a container, you will need to fertilize monthly.
Chives are normally a problem-free plant, not generally bothered by insects or plant diseases. If you plant them too close to your onion patch though, you may find that your onions share a few insect pests with your chives.
If you don't intend to eat the chive flowers or harvest the seeds, then you should remove the flower buds as soon as possible. Chive flowers, if left on your plants, will slow the growing of new leaves (as most of the plant's energy instead goes into producing the flowers).
If you've planted chives by seeds, do not harvest until late in the growing season in the first year.
Otherwise, plan to cut the leaves regularly. This ensures a continual supply of tender leaves. Cut the leaves with scissors, starting at the outside of the plant and working your way to the center. Leave approximately 2 to 3 inches of leaves remaining on the plant.
How to Grow - Propagating
To keep your chives performing at their best, you will want to divide them every 3 years or so. See How to Divide Chives
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Note: the advice and information contained herein is based upon our experience and study. As with any advice, please apply at your own discretion.