If you’re looking for a hardy herb that will produce a harvest all season-long, and can withstand just about anything you can throw at it then look no further than chives. I’ve been growing this wash basin of chives for so many years I can’t for the life of me recall where I got the tub or the plant. All I know is that it is one of the few perennial herbs that I can count on to withstand an inconsistent and sometimes bitter winter in a container and additionally be the first plant up and providing garnishes for early spring soups.
Every spring I try and find a new way to fill in the gaps left by the plants that don’t have the fortitude of chives and give the planter a place of prominence as the first pretty thing to look at out on the rooftop deck. This particular planting received a lot of positive attention this spring so I thought I’d share it with you.
- I use just about ever part of the plant. The early buds and fully open chive blossoms taste great in salads or steeped in vinegar to make a salad dressing.
Here’s what I’ve got growing in there right now:
- Chives – The centrepiece. Perennial so I did not have to buy them this year. However when I did they were probably only $1 at the local Horticultural Society Plant Sale. Chives multiply like crazy in the garden and are one of those plants someone is always looking to pass off for free.
- Thyme – Two kinds: Lime and silver. This is one of my favourite combinations. It’s not coming through in the photo but the lime thyme has a slightly yellow undertone that contrasts well with the silver variety. These plants cost $2 each and will provide a constant stream of clippings all summer long. They will not survive winter in a container however I get more for my buck by digging them up in the fall and transplanting to an in-ground garden. Last year’s container plants are currently thriving at my community garden plot. The lime variety does have a lime flavour that we like in fish soup.
- Violas – Two kinds, but I don’t know their names. One is a deep purple and the other is a combination of soft purples, cream, orange, and yellows. I put in 4 plants totaling just over a buck. The viola flowers are edible too. I pinch off the freshest flowers to eat in my salads. They will start to fade as the heat of summer intensifies but sometimes come back for a second round s the heat decreases in early fall. You can always fill in the gaps with another flower (I’m thinking a pink zinnia this year) or cascading nasturtiums that are also edible.
Total cost to me: $5. Plus some vermicompost and compost added to the container before planting. The wash basin was free and the container soil was purchased years ago.