How to Plant Chives & Garlic


Fresh chives and garlic can add flavor to your favorite recipes. Though you can buy such herbs in a grocery store, you can also grow chives (Allium schoenoprasum) and garlic (Allium sativum) in a backyard garden. The fresher they are, the stronger their smell and flavor. Both plants are relatively hardy and low-maintenance and can be quickly planted from chive seeds or garlic cloves.


Step 1

Plant chives in an area with full sun--six to eight hours of sunshine--and well-drained soil, according to the University of Minnesota.

Step 2

Break up the soil to a depth of 8 inches with a spade. Mix in 4 to 6 inches of aged compost into the soil, according to Utah State University, since chives thrive in soil that's rich in organic content. Follow with a 16-16-8 all-purpose vegetable fertilizer; the university recommends spreading the fertilizer at a rate of 3 tbsp. for every square foot of gardening space.

Step 3

Plant the chive seeds, burying each seed 1/4 inch below the soil surface and spacing the seeds 4 inches apart.

Step 4

Water the planting area twice daily or as needed to keep the soil moist. Chives typically sprout within 14 days.


Step 1

Plant the cloves in an area that receives full sun. Stir in several inches of aged compost and fertilize the area with all-purpose 10-10-10 garden fertilizer. Ohio State University recommends spreading the fertilizer at a rate of 3 lbs. for every 100 square feet of gardening space.

Step 2

Bury the clove 2 to 3 inches deep with its pointed end facing upward, according to the University of Minnesota. If planting more than one clove, separate them by approximately 5 inches.

Step 3

Water the garlic twice daily or as needed to keep the soil moist until the garlic shoots break the surface. After this, reduce watering to once a week. Apply enough water at each watering to moisten the soil to a depth of 1 inch or more, according to the University of Minnesota.

Things You'll Need

  • Spade
  • Compost
  • Fertilizer
  • Water


  • "Your Backyard Herb Garden: A Gardener's Guide to Growing Over 50 Herbs;" Miranda Smith; 1999
  • Utah State University: Chives in the Garden
  • University of Minnesota: Chives
  • Ohio State University: Growing Garlic in the Home Garden
  • University of Minnesota: Growing Garlic in Minnesota Home Gardens

Who Can Help

  • The Garlic Seed Foundation
Keywords: plant garlic, plant chives, grow herbs

About this Author

Josh Duvauchelle is an editor and journalist with more than 10 years' experience. His work has appeared in various magazines, including "Honolulu Magazine," which has more paid subscribers than any other magazine in Hawaii. He graduated with honors from Trinity Western University, holding a Bachelor of Arts in professional communications, and earned a certificate in applied leadership and public affairs from the Laurentian Leadership Centre.