Chives are an easy to grow perennial herb hardy to Zone 3. It can be grown in either the garden or in pots with good, fertile soil in a sunny location and are easy to start from seeds. The leaves or the small bulbs can be harvested throughout the growing season. Each Spring the Chive clumps should be dug up and divided into smaller clumps and re-potted or planted.
As early as 3,000 BC the Ancient Chinese knew of Chives, which were gathered growing wild throughout China and Europe. By the 16th century the Europeans were growing it in their gardens for culinary purposes.
The Chive plant is related to the onion, growing small white bulbs beneath the soil and sending long, straight green stems which are hollow. It imparts a mild onion flavor delicious in many recipes.
Chives are used to flavor new or baked potatoes, soft cheeses, omelettes, soups, dressings, fish, meat, and salads. It is a common ingredient in such sauces as Tartar Sauce and salad dressings, as it imparts a mild onion flavor. When cooking with Chives, it is best to add them at the last minute because the flavor is so delicate that it will disappear during prolonged cooking.
Chives are used mainly for culinary uses, not for their medicinal qualities. However, the leaves are mildly antiseptic and can promote digestion and stimulate appetite.
Chives are quite hardy, allowing harvesting either in small batches for immediate use or a complete cutting no more than 1" from the crown three or four times in a growing season. The flowers, picked just before they fully open make a beautiful addition to salads and flavored vinegars.
Collection basket of some sort
1. Gather small bunches (10 to 15 strands) between your fingers and snip at least 1" above the crown of the plant.
2. Alternate in various locations around the crown, leaving leaves to help feed the plant. This will assure a full crop for drying in the late Fall.