May 3, 2011

Chives that Thrive(s)

OK, I promise I won't rhyme anymore. It was a good attempt. Chives are one of the easiest herbs to grow. They taste great and keep coming back year after year, surviving the cold winters.

You can grow chives in your garden, in a container, and they do great indoors on a windowsill!
Here is how to maintain your chives:
  • Watering: Chives thrive with consistently moist soil. They will handle periods of dry soil, but this will affect productivity and growth.
  • Sun: Chives do best in full sun, but can handle partial shade.
  • Fertilizer: If you have not added compost to your soil or any other amendments this year, fertilize your chives once per month this spring. I do this by using the organic fertilizer I created in this post and sprinkle a small amount around the base. 
  • Dividing: Every three years, it's a good idea to thin out your chives, so share some with your neighbor!
  • Maintenance: Once I see pods start to develop (see purple below) I snip them off. In my opinion,  letting your chives flower reduces the production and flavor of the leaves. 
  •  Flowers: You may wish to let the chives flower. They are edible and wonderful in salads!
  • Harvesting: When you harvest, cut the leaves from the outside in leaving 2 inches of the leaf left. The chives will grow back.

If you are interested in growing chives this year, I would recommended purchasing bulbs that have already been started. If you start them from seed, it will take them a year before you can harvest. 
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