Tag Archives: chives

Photos from the month of April.

To better view the photos in this edition of “Photos from…” click on a photo.  You’ll be able to scroll through a slide show of all the photos.

The beet ravioli recipe is here:  Michael Symon’s Goat Cheese and Beet Ravioli.  I substituted ricotta cheese for the goat cheese and sage for the tarragon with delicious results.

Photos from the first week of February.

First signs of spring, these are tulips.


Some brave chives emerging on a February morning. It's pretty early to see chives, but our weather has been several degrees above average for months, and now with the snow cover gone they are feeling heat from the sun.


This parsley is showing new growth. Normally we'd have snow cover, but this year is different. It's fun to see how the plants are responding.


The mint is starting to send up green shoots.


Indoors, the rosemary has been doing well and enjoying the extra sunshine we've had.

Garden to Table: Chives, Part 1

The first thing to be harvested from the garden each year are vibrant green chives.  I love to see these poke through the ground, sometimes they even make it through the snow.

Flowering chives are a very pretty element of the herb garden.

My favorite uses for chives include:

on scrambled eggs
in a salad
on potatoes, rice or any grain
on tomato slices
in a condiment buffet for nachos, tacos or other Mexican fare
sprinkled over grilled meats

My kids like to grab a chive while playing in the yard and snack on it.  I do that same thing once in a while!

Chives have an oniony flavor.  I sometimes use them instead of green onions.  Early in the season the flavor is more mild, later in the season the oniony-ness becomes stronger.

It’s easiest to snip the chives with a kitchen scissors.  This is also the tool I use to harvest them out of the garden.  I cut them about an inch from the soil.  They continue growing, so I can cut fresh chives for the entire growing season and never run out.

This week I made Smashed Chive Potatoes from a recipe I clipped out of the newspaper in 2005–before I even grew chives.  I just knew I’d have a garden someday and was always clipping out recipes to use in the future.  Now I have a virtual library of clippings.  It’s a bit chaotic, but also fun, to go rifling through the recipes and I feel so happy when I come across just the right one.

The recipe does not exist online (that I can find) so I’m sharing it here.  I really enjoyed it!  And my family did too.

Smashed Chive Potatoes
Tribune Media Services, from the April 13, 2005 editions of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, skins on
1 ounce chopped chives, a few chives reserved for garnish
1/4 cup of good olive oil
2 tablespoons chicken broth
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and mixed pepper (red, white, black)

Cut potatoes into quarters.  (Don not peel.)  Boil until tender, about 15 minutes.  Drain and pat dry with paper towels.  Mash by hand or lightly with mixer.  (Do not overmix, or else potatoes will become gluey.)

Add chives, olive oil, chicken broth and garlic, and mix.  Add salt and pepper to taste and garnish with chopped chives.  Makes about 4 servings.

This is a one pot smashed potato recipe that makes tasty use of fresh chives.

Photos from the fourth week of April

Yellow tulips finally opened today!


Here comes the rhubarb.


These chives were clipped last night for dinner... fresh oniony flavor.


Arugula is tiny, but growing.


A row of radishes.




Spinach starts are now outside and doing well... should be able to harvest baby spinach soon.


Oregano leaves are plentiful. This is now a three-year-old plant.


Here's something to enjoy tomorrow.

Photos from the third week of April.

Mint is spotted next to the house.


Rows of tulips soaking in some sun.


These crocuses were a happy sight.


A hydrangea bud.


It began to rain as evening set in.

A few days later we awoke to this.

The rows of tulips were now covered with a blanket of snow.


The chives recieved a dusting of snow as well.

Photos from the first week of April.

Finally made it out to the garden to do some digging and planting.


After turning this bed over and adding some amendments, my son and I planted peas around these supports. We arranged them into a little "house" so he can go in and pick peas.


I love that the emerging lavender buds ARE the color lavender. So pretty.


A sage leaf unravels.


Aha! Proof that the squirrels didn't take all the tulips I planted in my raised bed. I have plans to use these for bouquets, hoping more come up.


My daughter's clematis vine wakes up to spring.


Despite freezing temperatures, a hail storm and a lack of sun, the chives grow.


This Rose of Sharon won't be bare for long.

Photos from the fourth week of March.

The first garlic bravely pokes through the ground in 30 degree temperatures.


Chives are up, but have sustained some frost damage. Temperatures are forecasted to be below freezing for the next several days.

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Time

What a difference a year makes.  The span of time between putting my first herb seedlings into a freshly filled raised bed and harvesting from second year plants is relatively brief–just over one year.  But for an herb, that one year makes the difference between infancy and adulthood.
In spring of 2009, I recruited my husband to build a raised bed to be used specifically for herbs.  Only 18 inches wide, it’s easily accessed from either side, and herbs have room to spill over the sides if necessary.  It also provides a nice border for the small patio garden where most of my garden grows.

Newly built raised bed with seedlings.


In 2009, I planted parsley, chives, dill, sage, rosemary, thyme, lavender, oregano and basil in the raised bed.  All grew, though some did better than others.  The rosemary never grew taller than six inches, and remained thin.   The dill did fine for a few weeks but seemed to go to seed very quickly, and since I did not sow a second or third crop we didn’t have any by the time other veggies were ready to harvest.

Overall, I was pleased with the abundance of parsley, chives, sage, lavender and oregano.  That summer I came to know the herb garden and all of it’s smells and flavors.

First year herb garden mid-season.

But it was the following year in which the herb garden really came into it’s own.  Early spring saw chives shooting up through the snow.  Soon after, tiny green leaves began to grow on what looked like dead wood of thyme, oregano, sage and lavender. 

Rosemary and parsley did not survive the winter.  It’s just as well.  I found a new spot in the bed for the parsley and moved rosemary to a pot where it has been much happier.  Now the rosemary can come inside with me for the winter and be used in winter soups and sauces.

Potted rosemary can live indoors or out.

Year two was one of pruning back.  The sage became huge, almost tree-like in the way it became thick and woody, stems reaching all over the place.  Chives needed constant cutting.  In fact, by the end of the season I removed three plants, knowing I wouldn’t need them next year.  This could free up space for something new.

The best part of the herbs’ second year was the beautiful flowers.  All edible, all beautiful.  And they attracted the most interesting insects and butterflies to our garden.  I can’t wait till next year when the flower show begins again.

Herb garden, year two. Basil in nearby container.

Lavender flowers delighted us all season.

A sea of herbs.

I wonder what the herb garden will look like in its’ third year?  Will it overgrow its small space?  Will plants come back just as healthy?  Will I need to replant anything?  I especially wonder about that parsley.  Biennial, it should come back this spring if conditions are right.

Time will tell how the herb garden will grow.  After two years with it, I know this: I’ll never have a home without an herb garden again.  Herbs brighten up our food, look and smell great in the garden and are a conversation piece for guests to our home.  They attract butterflies and hummingbirds.  My kids can’t help but grab an herb and munch on it while they play outside.  We’ve come to appreciate our herb garden more than we could have imagined when we first set out.  I simply love my herb garden.