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The Ultimate Secret to Growing Chives: The Gardener’s Guide

Chives are amazing plants to grow because growing them isn’t a tedious task; planting them is a great way to make your kids learn the basics of gardening. Not only do they have beautiful blossoms (onion chives have purple flowers while garlic chives have white flowers); they are also wonderful cooking ingredients (and here are recipes to prove it).

Chives are not only for eating but are also for decoration

Chives are not only for eating but are also for decoration

In fact, the whole plant is edible! The leaves are the most versatile, possessing a strong flavor that can be easily incorporated as a garnish to soups and salads among many other dishes; the bulbs of the plant can be used as mild onion and garlic substitutes; and the flowers could be used to add color to your salads or make chive blossom vinegar.

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Even the flower of the chive is edible and makes a beautiful garnish

Even the flower of the chive is edible and makes a beautiful garnish

But, like any other plant, you will have to know the proper way of growing them if you desire outstanding results. In this article, we will reveal to you, step by step, the secrets of growing chives, from planting, to harvesting, to propagating.

Chives need full sun to grow large and healthy

Chives need full sun to grow large and healthy

The main secret of growing chives is location. Whether you want to grow chives in containers (they are capable of growing even in small jars of jam) or in your garden, make sure they get plenty of sunlight. If growing in a garden, do not plant them beside onion plants, as this may cause it to suffer any disease that an onion plant would. Conversely, it would be wise to plant them alongside carrots, tomatoes and cabbage, as they repel the insects that harm the said plants (see this list to check which plants benefit from being planted with chives). Also, take the time to clean the area before setting up your plants.

The soil the chives will be growing on should be capable of retaining water

The soil the chives will be growing on should be capable of retaining water

2. Next, Prepare The Soil You’ll Be Planting The Seeds In

For ease, you can use a garden tiller for soil tilling and use a fertilizer spreader for easy fertilizing. Anyways, chives aren’t very picky and grow in many kinds of soil. However, the secret of growing chives is to grow them in clay soil that is rich in compost. Not only will it yield better, it will also require less maintenance in the long run.

Chive seeds in pods ready for the gardeners’ harvest and use

Chive seeds in pods ready for the gardeners’ harvest and use

3. Moisten The Soil And Plant The Seeds ¼ Of An Inch Deep

If you wish to plant more than just one patch in your garden, keep them 8-12 inches apart. Also, the secret to growing chives is to use clay soil. You won’t have to water your plant very often because clay holds water very efficiently. Nevertheless, even if you use clay soil, you will still have to periodically check the soil moisture. To check, dip a clean chopstick an inch or two deep, leave it in for around 10 minutes, then pull it out. If it has darkened and is wet to the touch, then your soil is moist.

Freshly harvested chives are very flavorful and fragrant

Freshly harvested chives are very flavorful and fragrant

4. Harvest Your Chives Two Months After You Have Planted Them Or When They Have Reached A Height Of At Least A Foot Tall

To harvest, measure an inch or two from the base of the plant and snip at that area. For best culinary results, harvest only when necessary as they start losing flavor when they start drying up. Note that the more you snip off the leaves, the more leaves will be produced. Also, if you do not wish to populate your entire garden with chives, snip the flowers off before they ripen.

Dig the chives all the way down to the roots for transplanting

Dig the chives all the way down to the roots for transplanting

5. To Propagate Your Chives, Find A Well-Established Clump Of Chives And Gently Dig Them Up

The secret to growing chives through this method is to have at least five bulbs for a better chance of successful propagation. Transplant these to your desired location, and these should be ready to harvest at half the time of seed-planted chives.

If you follow these instructions, you should have no problem in growing as much large, healthy (and tasty), chives as you want. Also, here are a few more secrets to growing chives to make the most out of your endeavors.

  • One of the secrets to growing chives with a head start is to plant them indoors for a month or two before the spring starts. Wait until the chives have grown to half a foot tall and the soil outside is warm before transferring them to the garden. By doing this, you won’t have to wait ‘til mid-spring before they grow to full maturity!
  • During the summer, the heat may be a bit too much for your chives. It is best to put a little shade on them during this season. Also, it is advisable to water a bit more frequently.
  • Another secret to growing chives is that chives have a “goldilocks” level of moisture preference. Meaning they don’t like it when it’s too dry nor too wet. Keep the soil moist but do not overwater.
  • Too much chives in your garden but you don’t want them to go to waste? Freeze them! Chop them into pieces then pop them into an airtight container. These frozen chives can last up to six months, so you’ll still be able to enjoy them well during the late fall or early winter season.
Alternatively, you can freeze the chopped chives into ice cubes to preserve them

Alternatively, you can freeze the chopped chives into ice cubes to preserve them

Chives are a great way to get yourself involved in gardening and take a step closer to being an ultimate green thumb. They don’t require that much care to grow well and beautifully. Seeing your own batch of chives grow well will make you feel great and encourage you to try gardening with a wider variety of plants.

I hope this article has helped you learn the best ways of growing chives. If you have other tips you deem effective, feel free to share them in the comments section below.​

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Lucy M. Clark
 

Hi there! I’m Lucy, and I’m a self-confessed garden fanatic. Gardening has always been a passion of mine and will always be my favorite pastime. Now that I am married and have one adorable son, I have the time to write and share my personal experiences with other garden enthusiasts like me.

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