Why should you add chives to your garden? Because chives are good for more than just baked potatoes and sour cream.

Chives are not really an herb - they're a flowering plant that most people treat like an herb. They make an interesting addition to your garden and can be used as space fillers and companion plants. The green leaves sprout early in the spring and the purple flowers bloom early in the summer.

 

This perennial has a long growing season, pops up early in the spring and requires little care. The plant needs well drained soil, does the best in full sun (but can survive with some shade), and some moisture. The leaves should be harvested 3-4 times the first year it's planted and then after that, monthly. To harvest, just snip the leaves down to the base, about one to two inches from the ground. The ornamental purple flowers are ready to harvest right after they open.

Chives not only add beauty and interest to your garden, they're also a great pollinator. Bees are naturally attracted to the flowering plants and many gardeners use it to combat both Japanese beetles and aphids. And as an added bonus, the strong onion like smell makes deer turn away.

You can use your chives for many dishes - not just baked potatoes. Snip the delicate leaves and add them to:

salads

scrambled eggs

compound butters

infused oils

bread dough and biscuits.

The flower blossoms can be used for delicate garnishes and added to:

salads (for a bright pop of color and texture)

soups

egg dishes

crudités platters

or just pop them into a pretty vase to enjoy!

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