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.

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Seeds That Germinate Rapidly

Seeds that seem to spring up from nowhere need extra care to ensure they have enough space, water, and light. A moment's inattention can result in them becoming cramped and straggly.

Borage (Borago)
Chives (Allium)
Coriander (Coriandrum)
Dill (Anethum)
Lovage (Levisticum)
Rocket (Hesperis)

Chive seedlings, seen here, emerge quickly and the first leaves are the most fragile — remember that the sun can burn them very easily.

Chive SeedlingsEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - Simple Steps to Success: Herbs © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Seeds That Germinate Slowly

Some take longer, occasionally much longer, so be patient and resist the urge to dig around looking for signs of growth as this disturbance is sure to damage any new sprouts.

Angelica (Angelica)
Fennel (Foeniculum)
Oregano (Origanum)
Parsley (Petroselinum)
Rosemary (Rosmarinus)
Thyme (Thymus)

Fennel seedlings, seen here, emerge after a month or so, but more may pop up a little later — they will soon catch up if there is space.

Slow-Germinating Fennel and Rosemary SeedsEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - Simple Steps to Success: Herbs © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Common problems

Sowing Too Much Seed
Dense sowing results in weak seedlings that are more susceptible to disease and failure (Image 1). Do not sow thickly unless recommended on the packet.

Mixing Up Seed
To avoid mixed pots of seedlings use fresh compost and only sow one type of seed at a time (Image 2). Save unfinished packets by folding and sealing with a clip.

Plants Quick to Bolt
Coriander is prone to bolting, missing the leafy stage, if stressed in pots or by too high a temperature. Avoid by sowing directly into the ground in spring (Image 3).

12Next »

Excerpted from Simple Steps: Herbs

©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009

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