Chives are a great addition to the garden, any garden, does not matter what is growing already, add chives. These perennial herbs are great landscape edibles; they come back year after year. Chives (Allium schoenoprasum) are narrow plants, about a foot tall, so they can be tucked in between ornamental shrubs and flowers as long as they receive full sun. In my Virginia garden, my plants are already poking through the soil in early March and I can’t wait to cut the leaves for scrambled eggs, chive butter, and mashed potatoes.
To keep up with my family’s demand for fresh chives, I have several plants so after I cut the leaves back on one, I leave that plant alone until it rejuvenates and then harvest the leaves of another plant. Usually we are harvesting the leaves so often we do not see the pink, clover-like flowers but the flowers themselves are edible and pretty in a wildflower-country-garden-way.
In the spring, I divide my current clumps to create more plants, both for the garden as well as for friends. Chive can be grown from seed but it may take a while for the plants to mature to harvest so it is best to buy a few small containers in the spring and tuck them in different places in the garden (near the door so you can pop out with scissors before dinner). I always wash the foliage of course before eating but I have never seen pests.
To make chive butter, simply let the butter come to room temperature, stir in chopped chives to taste, then refrigerate in a container. This can be done with soft cheeses as well. Chives can be preserved in the freezer, dried, or in ice cubes. Chives also can be used in herbal vinegars. Fresh minced chives add green to potatoes, soups, and rice dishes. Really, chives are so versatile in the kitchen and so easy to grow in the garden, there is no reason not to have them in your garden.