Fresh herbs are an excellent addition to nearly any meal. Having a supply of chives ready and waiting in your kitchen is incredibly convenient, allowing you to imbue magnificent flavor into a dish whenever the need arises.
But growing chives indoors may be new to you. You might worry that they won’t have the ideal taste or that they won’t look attractive sitting on your windowsill. Luckily, it’s possible to grow great tasting - and looking - chives indoors. Here is a step-by-step process for making it happen.
Steps to Grow Chives Indoors
1. Select a Great Herb Planter
If you’re going to have a spectacular windowsill herb garden, it all starts with having the right pots. A great metal herb planter will provide your chives with enough space to thrive. Plus, the pots themselves will be durable, ensuring they last year after year.
By getting windowsill planters that feature several pots on a handy tray, you get an attractive display that’s convenient to use. When you want to cook with fresh herbs, you can pick up the windowsill herb garden on its tray, bring it to your preparation area, and easily gather the chives or other herbs you need.
2. Choose a Well-Draining Soil
Chives don’t like it when the soil is too wet, so you want to select a soil that drains well. If you’d like to boost the flavor of your chives, make sure to add a bit of organic compost or fertilizer to the mix. A little bit goes a long way, so make sure not to overdo it.
3. Water Appropriately
Generally, chives do best when they are watered frequently, but lightly. As mentioned above, chives don’t do well in wet soil. However, a bit of moisture in the soil is fine. So, water gently, but regularly, to keep your chives in great shape.
4. Handle the Lighting
Chives do best in full sun. If you have a south-facing window in or near your kitchen, that might be the perfect choice.
However, if a south-facing window isn’t available, don’t fret. If you can find a spot that gets 6 hours of sun each day, that’ll do the trick. Otherwise, you may want to consider a grow light, particularly during winter months, when the days can be a bit shorter.
5. Rotate Your Chives
If your chives stay in the same position in front of the window, the plant may start to grow toward that light. Essentially, your chives will look like they are leaning in one direction.
Technically, there’s nothing wrong with that lean. It doesn’t influence the health or flavor of your chives. But, if you want your herb garden to look its best, you might prefer it if your chives stay vertical.
The easiest way to correct or prevent a lean is to rotate your chive plant regularly. Simply pick up the pot and give it a quarter turn. Usually, if you rotate the plant every week or so, that should be enough to keep your chives relatively straight.
Harvesting Your Chives
Once your chives are growing and healthy, reaching at least six inches in height, it’s time to take advantage of having fresh herbs available. Usually, harvesting your chives is simply. All you need is a pair of sharp scissors.
Once you’re ready to use some chives, snip the leaves, leaving at least two inches above the soil line intact. By leaving the leaves a minimum of two inches long, they’ll regrow, keeping your supply of fresh chives refreshed and renewable.
Should You Let Your Chives Flower?
It’s important to note that, when chives flower, the flower and stem can be eaten. Some people find that the flowers can be lovely additions to salads, or may find other uses for the edible blooms.
However, some people prefer to prevent their chives from flowering. The stems end up with a different flavor, and can be a bit tough. Plus, it can also alter the taste of the leaves if the plant is allowed to flower.
If your chive plant flowers, taste test the leaves to see if you notice a difference. That way, you can adjust your use of the chives accordingly. If you’d rather prevent flowering, keep an eye on your chives. If you spot buds (usually near May and June), you can attempt to cut those stems back.
Some people have success with trimming the entire plant back before the flowering phase, essentially doing a full harvest. Then, since the stems are lower, buds are less likely to form.
Whether you let your chives flower is a personal choice. Preventing it won’t necessarily harm the long-term growth of your chives, so it is an option. However, you can also let it flower. Not only are the blooms edible, but they can also be quite pretty.
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