Growing Herbs From Seed

Get tips on how to easily and inexpensively grow herbs from seed.
Arrange and Plant Herbs in Each Section of Garden

Arrange and Plant Herbs in Each Section of Garden

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

From: DK Books - Herbs

The catalogs list many thousands of different seeds and make for stimulating reading — especially over the winter months. Many are easy to grow and it is an inexpensive way of expanding your collection with basic and unusual herbs.

Larger Seeds

1. Seed of this size is the easiest to handle. Check the instructions, make sure your palm is dry, and gently scatter at the correct spacing (Image 1). Use just enough and return the rest to the packet.

2. Planting depth and light requirements vary for each type of herb. Follow the packet's instructions and scatter an appropriate depth of vermiculite over the seeds (Image 2).

3. Use a waterproof pen to label the pot (Image 3). It can be useful to record the date of sowing so you can check for germination at the supplier's suggested times.

Dibbing Holes

1. For seeds that need to be accurately spaced and at a greater depth, use your fingertips to make indentations in the compost at a suitable depth and distance apart (Image 1).

2. With big seeds, place one or two in each hole; but with smaller seeds, put in a few more each time (Image 2). Try not to drop them from high up as they can bounce and be lost.

3. Cover with a 50/50 vermiculite and fine compost mix (Image 3). Gently firm, label, and water carefully. Place in a warm, light place. Keep barely moist and check regularly for germination.

Fine Seeds

1. Lightly dust the seed from your palm or "pinch" a small amount between finger and thumb and carefully sprinkle (Image 1). Don't sow more seeds than will be happy in a single pot.

2. Finer seeds need a lighter covering of vermiculite using a finer grade and some may need to be left exposed (Image 2). Be careful watering as too much can flush all the seeds into one corner.

3. Remember to water your seedlings and grow on in a bright place (Image 3). If the right numbers of seeds are sown in the right container, no pinching will be needed — just transplanting when older.

Sowing Plugs

1. Trays come in a range of sizes from four large plugs to many hundreds of small 1/2 in (1 cm) squares and are ideal for sowing seeds where you only need one or two plants to grow in each module (Image 1).

2. So you don't lose track of where you are, sow larger seeds on the surface of all the modules and then press them down to the correct depth before covering in one go (Image 2).

3. Pinch out excess seedlings, leaving the strongest with plenty of space to grow on (Image 3). Transplant into a larger container or plant out when the plug is well filled with roots.

Next Up

Growing Herbs

Plants can be expensive and identical cultivars difficult to source, but increasing your own stock or growing new varieties is not difficult and is very rewarding in exchange for a small amount of financial outlay.

Growing Herbs From Cuttings

Many plants do not produce viable seed or, if they do, it is so fiddly or slow to grow that it is easier and quicker to take cuttings from your favorite plant. Always keep your new cuttings moist and in a warm, sunny place.

Dividing Herbs

Plants are not cheap, and some nurseries are reluctant to divulge the easiest methods of quickly growing more from a single specimen. Wait until your new plants are well rooted and then plant them out in the garden.

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Herbs are naturally aromatic and many are highly favored by honeybees and other insects. Learn how you can have your own garden perfect for birds and bees.

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Groups of symmetrically arranged raised beds provide an easy and attractive way to cultivate a wide range of herbs without having to set foot on the soil. Learn how to grow your own potager herb garden.

Hanging Herb and Vegetable Basket

Having a hanging basket filled with herbs and tomatoes is convenient and easy. Learn what you need to to have your own.

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Discover some tips and tricks to growing lavender indoors.

Start a Mason Jar Herb Garden

Move your herb garden indoors using recycled canning jars.

Basil: A Flavorful Herb That Looks Great in Containers

Grow from seeds in a sunny spot by themselves or in combination with other edible plants.

The Best Herbs for Container Gardening

Most common herbs adapt easily to life in containers, so if you have room for a few potted plants outside, try a small herb garden.

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