Start with a Herb Garden Plan
In this article I have provided some simple steps for you to follow for growing herbs from seeds. However, before you start you should create a Herb Garden Plan so that you can be sure you have the right herbs planted in the right places at the right time of the year.
If you’re growing herbs from seeds start doing your planning in November and December so that you’re ready to go the following year.
It can be really fun growing your own herbs from seed, and it needn’t take up a lot of your time and effort. If you follow the five steps I’ve outlined below there’s no reason why your first attempts at growing herbs from seed shouldn’t be a great success.
Choosing your Herbs
The first stage of any herb garden plan is “choose your herbs”. You probably already have some favorite herbs you’d like to grow. When I started growing herbs from seeds I selected basil because I wanted lots of fresh basil to use in my cooking.
Other herb gardening beginners I know started herb growing with parsley, chives and sage, because, like me, they were already familiar with these herbs and used them regularly for their favorite recipes.
But don’t just stick with the herbs you know. Do a little research and find some other useful herbs that are less familiar to you. If you need to get some ideas, send of for some illustrated seed catalogs or carry out some searches for herb seeds using the the internet. You’ll also find my eBook on Herb Gardening useful in providing ideas.
Garden centers are useful places to visit when you’re starting your herb gardening. The usually have special display areas for herbs. You can touch and smell them and get ideas on herbs you’d like to grow.
As well as basil, I now grow parsley, chives, sage, oregano and borage. All of these herbs are frequently used in the preparation of meals, salads and drinks. They are all good choices for you when you start growing herbs from seeds.
The selection of herb seeds illustrated provides excellent value for money at around $12. If you chose to purchase the individual packets of herb seeds, it could easily cost you twice as much.
Go to “herb seeds for sale” on Amazon to look at this and other special deals for growing herbs from seeds.
Working Materials for Growing Herbs from Seeds
It won’t cost you a lot of money to create your herb garden, but if you’re growing herbs from seeds there are a number of things you’ll need to get hold of. Some of them you’ll need to buy, but others could be borrowed from neighbors:
2. Several of the type of seed trays that are divided into separate compartments or cells, and have transparent plastic covers. You can get the “seed starting kit” illustrated from Amazon for around $25. The covers protect the seeds and help keep the soil moist during germination. You’ll need two or three of these to grow a selection of twelve herbs. Just buy one if you only want to start with a small number of herbs.
3. Kitchen or fine garden sieve. You’ll need this to prepare your soil-less growing medium so that it’s fine enough to sprinkle over your seeds once they are sown.
4. Water spray (like the ones used for spraying insecticide on roses) or a small watering can with a watering attachment that has very fine holes
5. Sufficient 3 inch plastic flower pots to plant your small seedlings in once they have grown.
Growing Herbs from Seeds – Five Steps to Follow
Follow each of the five following steps carefully to ensure that when growing herbs from seeds you produce a healthy and flourishing herb crop.
- Fill your seed trays with the soil-less compost
- Use the water spray or watering can to wet the seed trays (don’t make the soil-less compost too wet)
- Place two or three seeds in each cell of the seed tray
- Cover your seed trays with finely sieved soil-less compost (Don’t bury seeds too deep)
- Spray or water the trays lightly with water again, and then cover them with their plastic covers
- Label each tray so that you know what herbs they contain
- Cover the trays with black polythene or newspaper and put them on your window-shelf or in a green house
- Check regularly and keep the soil-less compost moist
- Watch carefully for the seeds to germinate.
- When seeds have germinated take the black polythene/ newspaper covering off the seed trays
- Put the trays in a light place (but not direct sunlight)
- Replant your seedlings in the 3 inch plastic pots when they have grown into firm young plants (1 to 2 inches tall). Do this by a) filling each 3 inch pot three quarters full with the soil-less compost, b) making a large hole in the soil at the center of each pot, c) transferring each plant (and the “root-ball” of soil) to it’s own pot, and finally d) firming the soil around the plant afterwards.
- Keep the pots in a light ventilated area and water regularly
- Replant your herb plants in your herb garden or patio herb container when they have grown into strong young plants 2-3 inches tall
Harvesting your Herbs
The herbs you’ve planted should be ready for harvesting in early summer.
When you harvest them, don’t remove too many leaves at one time, so that your herbs still have the strength to regrow quickly. You will want to continue harvesting them again and again throughout the summer and into the autumn.
During the summer period you’ll be able to enjoy your home-grown herbs, and have something to boast about at your next dinner party when you use the herbs you’ve grown in your favorite recipes – all as a result of growing herbs from seeds.
Happy herb gardening,