Steve Bender

Planting this herb shows your good taste

You can eat its leaves. You can eat its showy flowers. It’s easy to grow and comes back every year.  That’s what makes chives (Allium schoenoprasum) one of Grumpy’s favorite herbs.

Chives is blooming in my garden this very minute. Purplish-pink, cloverlike blossoms rise above hollow, tubular leaves about a foot tall. If you leave the blooms, they’ll make seeds. Or you can cut them to make a striking garnish for a salad. I leave the blooms because I enjoy the early spring color. I do clip leaves throughout the year, though, because no self-respecting baked potato should ever be served without them.

WATCH: Grumpy's Tips For Beginning Gardeners

You can grow chives from Canada to Florida. The plant is evergreen in mild-winter areas and dies to the ground where winters are cold, returning the following spring. It’s readily available in garden centers now. Give it full to part sun and moist, well-drained soil. Outdoors, plant in an herb garden or mixed flower border. Indoors, grow it in a pot on a sunny windowsill. To get more plants, divide existing ones in early spring or fall or sow seeds.

If I have a bone to pick with this herb, it’s the name. Chives. It’s both singular and plural. You can grow one chives or 10 chives. But you cannot grow one chive. This slap at logic drives me crazy. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to the market to buy an impatien [sic] and some fishes.