Ok I have to admit I am a huge fan of putting sour cream and chives on my baked potatoes. It’s one of those guilty pleasures in life! Of course being a vegetable gardener that also grows herbs I have also talked myself into “the sour cream isn’t bad because the potato and chives came from the garden.” It isn’t the healthiest of combinations but in this case I am ok with that, because the potato/sour cream/chives combination is tremendous.
With that said lets talk a little about chives and how easy they are to add to anyone’s home gardening plans. Chives are the smallest species of onions and in most parts of the world can grow as a perennial, which means they will last for two or more years.
Part of the onion family, making it a vegetable, chives in many cultures are considered an herb as it used for medicinal purposes (as well as other reasons). However you refer to this great tasting plant is up to you, but here are some tips to make it easier to grow.
You can grow chives anytime by planting them in a pot and putting that pot near a window sill that receives sun first thing in the morning. This makes chives a great choice to start indoors, if you do not have it going as a perennial already.
Chives like the soil to be a bit more acidic to neutral (6.0 to 7.0 on the pH scale). Will do great in full sun but also grows very well in partial shade. Give your chives a moderate and even watering making sure the soil is moist but not saturated. Space your chives out at least six inches (eight inches if you have the room). Chives grow best when the temperature is fifty-five to seventy degrees Fahrenheit and you if cover them in the regions where frost and snow set in they will survive your winters (in most cases).
Do not rotate chives with other members of the onion family and if possible they make a great companion for carrots and tomatoes but bad a companion for beans and peas.
Use a sharp pair of scissors to harvest your chives by giving it a cut about an inch to an inch and a half above the soil. Sort of like giving it a haircut (as one gardening writer puts it).
Add your fresh chives to just about anything. For me, it is to sour cream so I can top the potato I just harvested as well.
About the Author
Mike Podlesny is the owner of Mike the Gardener Enterprises, LLC, the exclusive home of the Seeds of the Month Club, which has appeared on NBC, ABC and MSN Money as a great way for consumers to save money.
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