by Linda Butler
Chives are a prolific member of the onion family. A cluster of chives can be divided many times and provides a source of green onion tops. There is nothing better than a baked potato with sour cream decorated with chopped chives.
They are a perennial plant and will winter over even in a cold climate. This spring in Northern Manitoba I moved chive plants to my garden that had been naturalized in the bush. The plants need to be cut down periodically and I take a pair of scissors and cut the tops off. They re-grow quickly with nice fresh stalks.
I let some plants flower as the blue-violet flowers are attractive and I don’t pick the chives from the flowering plants. The flower is very woody and by the time the plant flowers, the greens are no longer as fresh. Usually after the plant flowers I cut it back, but other gardeners let the chives go to seed. Sometimes if I’m making soup I’ll add the old chives that are no longer suitable for salad material, and put them into the soup pot.
I keep a number of chive plants in my flower bed as they are attractive with or without flowers and by cutting the plant periodically, I have fresh chives throughout the growing season. If you don’t have any chives in your garden, borrow a few from your neighbor and you’ll soon have your own clump for your garden.