Chives are one of the first hardy herbs to return to Denver gardens each spring.
Their clumps of slim, tubular leaves provide some of the earliest green turning up on late winter landscapes. Globular chive flowers of pinkish-purple—almost the color of thistle blossoms--soon follow. Given the right growing conditions, chives will continue to grow through late fall, providing months of fresh herbs.
Chives, related to onions, add flavor and nutrition.
Beautiful and useful, chives belong to the allium family. Related to onions, the entire chive plant is edible. The pretty blossoms make an interesting garnish and can be cut for fresh or dried floral arrangements. Chives add delicate flavor to many hot or cold dishes without the strong pungency of onions.
Chives add not only flavor, but also nutritional value. According to nutritionaldata@ self.com: “This food is very low in Cholesterol and Sodium. It is also a good source of Thiamin, Niacin, Pantothenic Acid, Phosphorus and Zinc, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Potassium, Copper and Manganese. Low-calorie chives’ glycemic load is 0, and the inflammation factor is 11, considered mild.
Chives may ward off evil spirits. And rabbits.
Native to the Orient, Chinese people have used chives for thousands of years as food and medicine, according to “Herbs: Leaves of Magic” by Carol Riggs. She also notes that gypsies used chives in fortune-telling rites and also to ward off evil spirits.
My sister tends a charming and tidy vegetable garden. She planted a border of chives all around her veggie plot to ward off rabbits.
Chives are easily propagated.
Chives grow easily from seeds and will self-seed. Or increase your chive plants by dividing clumps, separating the small bulbs, and replanting them with more space around each tiny bulb. Like most herbs, chives prefer full sun and well drained soil.
Cultivate chives indoor for fresh herbs.
Chives also make ideal container plants. I typically allow a pot of chives to remain outside for several frost cycles in fall. Then I bring the container inside, position the pot of chives in a sunny window, and water the soil. After dormancy, the chives grow again; and I have a source of fresh herbs over the winter.
When spring returns, I return the pot of chives to the patio, or transplant the herbs into my landscape where chives add charm.
••• "Cultivate your corner of the world.
You grow your garden; your garden grows you." •••
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