All New Square Foot Gardening

Chives

AT A GLANCE

Botanical Information

Family: Lily Height: 10 to 15 inches A/B/P, Hardiness: perennial Spacing: 2 per square

Growing Season Spring: yes Summer: yes Fall: yes Winter: no

Seed to Harvest/Flower: 16 weeks Seeds Storage: 2 years Weeks to Maturity: 10 weeks Indoor Seed Starting: 10 weeks before last frost Earliest Outdoor Planting: late spring Additional Plantings: not needed Last Planting: not needed

Description

This is a fun little plant with a spiky hairdo. The slim, round leaves are hollow and have a mild onion scent when cut. The pinkish-purple flowers appear in late spring and make a pretty garnish for salads. Chives are a member of the onion family, and oddly enough, it is one herb that hasn't really been used for medicinal purposes during its long history. It is simply a unique garden plant that has enhanced the flavor of savory foods for centuries.

Starting

Location: full sun

Seeds Indoors: Plant seeds indoors in late winter. Seeds can take up to

21 days to germinate. Transplanting: Set purchased plants out in spring. Although chives are cold-hardy, it is best to set new plants out after all danger of frost has passed. Seeds Outdoors: late spring-early summer

Growing

Watering: Weekly, 2 cups per plant.

Maintenance: Divide clumps every few years to rejuvenate the plants.

Basil and Beyond

Harvesting

How: Snip the tips of the leaves as needed to garnish baked potatoes and creamed soups. Don't cut off more than V3 of the plant at any one time.

When: Chives can be harvested anytime after the new leaves have reached 6 to 8 inches. To enjoy the tasty pink flowers, don't harvest the plant until you can see the flower buds, then clip around them or wait until they bloom. The flowers make a lovely garnish.

Preparing and Using

Cut the tops off each leaf if you like the flat-top look, or cut a few leaves down to the base of the plant. Don't cut off more than V3 of each leaf or more than V3 of the leaves on the plant at one time. Snip the fresh hollow leaves into salads, sauces, soups, or dips.

Problems

Insufficient water can cause leaf tips to turn brown. Divide plants every few years to prevent dieback.

Growing Soilless

Growing Soilless

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