Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Herbs ' Spices: Starting Seeds

So never lose an opportunity of urging a practical beginning, however small, for it is wonderful how often in such matters the mustard-seed germinates and roots itself. ~Florence Nightingale

It's time to consider starting some herbs indoors if you haven't already. The following seeds take about 6-8 weeks or longer once they germinate: arugula, basil, burnet, chives, coriander, fennel, nasturtiums, feverfew, Russian sage, wormwood, sorrel and summer savory. Start them in small pots with a good potting soil (not one that has anything added other than the basic soil mixture). Plant 2-3 seeds in each pot and cover with a very light layer of sand or soil. Your packet of seeds will give the planting depth. Most of the above are 1/4 inch except for the nasturtiums, which need 1 inch. I usually start nasturtiums outside, but if you do start them in pots use 1 seed per container.

Most of these take a week to ten days or to germinate, but some longer depending on the temperature and other conditions. Water gently and cover the pots with plastic. Place them in a warm spot-keep them lightly moistened NOT damp. Actually, while the plastic is on this should be easy. When they sprout, remove the plastic,and place them in a bright spot, but not in direct sun while they are very tiny. After they grow a bit, a southern sunny window is good. Experiment with different locations, and rotate the pots or containers. Do this at least once a day because they will start to lean towards the sun. When they are about 6-8 weeks old you should be able to take snips to use in the kitchen. If you are in a warmer climate where the frosts have passed you can gradually move them outdoors. The rest of us will have to wait longer until the frost passes.

You can also use a shop light with florescent bulbs to grow seeds indoors. These are MUCH cheaper than grow light systems. There are so many frugal ways to grow herbs and flowers. You can use salad and baked good containers of clear plastic with lids that have been washed. The containers work great for growing things you are going to transplant.

If you are in an apartment or simply can't take on planting many herbs right now, consider growing a pot of nasturtiums. They are cheery, and bright, plus you can use them in so many ways! Use one medium sized pot and follow the above instructions.

On OFL we have more tips on planning your herb garden:

1 comment:

  1. Garden Harvest Supply is a great online source for herb seeds and also potted plants. They have a very large selection.


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