Growing Herbs From Seed

Get tips on how to easily and inexpensively grow herbs from seed.

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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.

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Excerpted from Simple Steps: Herbs

©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009

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