Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Today in the garden: The chives are coming up & we ate some for dinner – our first homegrown food this year!

If you don’t already grow chives (Allium schoenoprasum), let me encourage you to grow some.  Chives are for you whether you’re a novice gardener,  a green thumb, an "I really should try growing something this year" kind of person, or an "I once tried to garden and it didn't work" kind of person. Just find a corner and plant some.

Chives are a mild member of the onion family.  They taste great in salads, in soups, and with bagels and cream cheese.  You can use them in any recipe that calls for scallions or add them to scrambled eggs. 

Young spring chives are especially tasty.  It’s as if all the chiveyness, the chive taste, has been concentrated in a smaller volume. Tonight I added some to our dinner:  spinach burritos (a la Moosewood Restaurant Simple Suppers).  In the summer when chives bloom, you can even eat the chive flowers! 

The great thing about growing chives here in Westchester County, NY, is that chives essentially require no care whatsoever.  They don’t need special soil. They don’t need to be protected from animals.  Most years they don’t need to be watered at all (once they’ve been established, that is).  In my yard, deer, rabbits, woodchucks, squirrels, etc. leave the chives alone.   Chives can be harvested from early spring all the way through fall.  Some folks like to harvest them with scissors.  I generally just break them off with my thumb and finger.  As long as an inch or so of the plant is left above ground, it will grow back again. 

The easiest way to start growing chives is to find someone who is already growing them and who is willing to share.  There tends to be a culture of sharing among gardeners because plants like chives multiply each year.  I have two large patches of chives that started from a small bunch that my mom gave me years ago.  Since then, I in turn have given out small bunches to anyone who wants some.  Chives can also be started from seeds outdoors once the soil warms up.

Do you have a favorite way to eat chives?  If you already grow chives, have yours come up yet?  


  1. My three year old granddaughter loves chives and she especially loves to tend the chive plants.


    1. Love it! Brings back sweet memories of when my own daughter was around that age. She also used to tend the chives and regularly pick them.


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