Friday, March 12, 2010

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Monday, March 8, 2010

Garden & Herb Questions and Answers

All Nature seems at work. Slugs leave their lair, the bees are stirring, birds are on the wing, and Winter slumbering in the open air, wears on his smiling face a dream of spring." ~Samuel Taylor Coleridge

A reader emailed us wanting to know where to buy lemon grass seeds and asked how to grow it. I thought I recalled that it couldn't be grown from seed, or at least not easily. I was pleasantly surprised to find out I was wrong. I had only bought plants in the past because it's not hardy in Zone 5.

The seeds are available from most seed suppliers such as Park Seed, or Gurneys. The seed packets will have instructions, but I do have a couple of tips to make it easier. Lemon grass seed should be just barely covered with a seed starting soil, then covered with plastic wrap after moistening the soil. It needs to be kept at 70-75 degrees F. to germinate. You want to basically make a little greenhouse atmosphere by covering the container with plastic and making sure it stays moist. On OFL we have an article on growing lemongrass from pieces of the herb:

I have a question about my jade plant.It is healthy and growing tall. But my issue is that it is only growing tall. It is not growing any branches out. It gets good light most of the day, at least what is required, the 3-5 hrs of direct sunlight, it gets new leaves, only on the top. Any suggestions on getting it to grow branches?

I hate to tell you to prune a plant that is healthy and doing so well, but I understand wanting it to be full, and not simply tall. You can cut the branches up to half their length to prune, but it's recommended that pruning is done in the fall instead of the spring. What you could do in the meantime is pinch off any tiny leaves that start growing at the top of the plant to encourage growth on the sides. You can set even small leaves in soil and they will root so you can start new plants. If you do this and it still isn't filling out by fall, then you can prune it.

I had a lovage plant for several years and 2 years ago it froze and didn't
come back and I am unable to find a place that sells them. Can you help me
find one? ~Donna

Lovage is SO easy to grow from seed that I would recommend starting a few new plants by direct seeding where you want it to grow or you can start the seeds ahead of time in a sunny window, then transplant outside later. Either way, you want to wait until all frost has passed. You can find lovage seeds in most garden centers, or online. It's a fairly common herb to grow from seed so it's easy to locate.

On OFL we have an article with growing instructions and recipes for lovage: