Chives grow in all climates, but if grown in cold climates chives will go dormant. Chives like a a moist, rich soil. They prefer a sunny location, but will do well in partial shade. Start seeds indoors or outside in early spring. Seeds germinate when temperatures are between 60 degrees and 70 degrees. Established clumps of chives should be divided in spring every three years. Chives grow well in greenhouses. Chives are also good container plants. Plant seeds in containers in late summer and grow out doors, then move indoors and place the container near a sunny window when the weather gets cold. Chives need 1 inch of water every other week. To keep generating leaves for harvest, snip off the flowers as soon as they appear. Leaves can be harvested when they reach 6 inches in height. When cutting leaves, keep 2 inches of leaf for regrowth. Harvest chives as needed.
Chives in History
The use of chives dates back 4,000 years in China. Marco Polo enjoyed chives so much there that he helped inspire there use in the west. Chives became a favorite herb in western cultures.
Cooking with Chives
Remember when cooking with herbs 1 tablespoon of fresh herbs = 1 teaspoon dried herbs. Here are a variety of recipes using fresh chives.
- Grow chives in the garden as a great deterrent for aphids and mildew.
- Grow chives near roses to increase the scent of roses and under peach trees to control leaf curl.
- Infuse a handful of chives in 2 cup hot water, let cool and spray on plants to control aphids and mildew.
- Chives in food are used to stimulate appetites and aide in digestion.
- Chives ca also be eaten to use as a mild laxative.