When To Sow: March-June Harvest: May-October
Germination: 10-14 days Full Sun to Partial Shade
Chives are perennials and need a fairly “permanent” place to grow. Choose a sunny location and amend the soil with plenty of organic matter before planting. (Never sow in freshly manured soil.) Chives do best in rich, moist loose soil, but will do well in pretty much any decent garden soil.
Starting Indoors: Chives can be notoriously tricky to germinate and, as a result, many growers choose to start their chives inside in flats. Use light, well-draining compost or seed starter, sowing seeds at a depth of 1cm (½"). Cover lightly with soil and moisten. Chive seeds germinate best at a soil temperature of about 70F. Also, it’s best to use fresh seed, as the germination rate drops sharply with each year the seed has been stored. To aid in maintaining proper humidity, cover flats with a piece of plastic wrap until seeds have germinated.
Once germinated, remove chives to a cooler growing space and make sure they have adequate light. Once seedlings have at least two true leaves and all threat of frost has passed, harden off and plant outdoors. Water the plants thoroughly after planting. Space at least 6” apart.
Direct Seed: Once the soil has warmed in the spring, sow chives into finely cultivated beds. Sow thinly in any well-drained, moderately fertile soil in a sunny location. Plant in drills 1.5cm (½”) deep, 6” apart. Carefully pull any weeds that come up, so that the seedlings can get established.
If you are growing from seed, sow when soil temperature is between 60º to 70ºF.
For best yields, water chives consistently throughout the growing season. Moisten the soil thoroughly when watering.
Keep young sprouts mulched and well-weeded.
As chives are a perennial plant, side dress with compost yearly and weed well before sprouts emerge in spring. Divide the plants every 3-4 years in the spring to keep high yields.
Wait at least a month after transplanting (or 60 days after seeding) before harvesting chives. Cut the leaves down to the base (1-2” form the soil) when harvesting at least 3-4 times the first year and monthly after that.
Chives grow with any plant that likes alliums. They grow especially well with carrots and lettuce and help deter pests from plants in the Brassicae family (cabbage, kale, radish, etc.). Also do well with beets, chard, and strawberries. Do not plant with peas or beans.