This is the time of year that, if you plan on starting your herbs from seeds for your garden, you should be getting things growing. It’s not as difficult as you may think, yet the process is nothing short of miraculous. In a matter of a week or two, tiny seedlings will sprout from even the smallest speck of seeds. Eventually, you’ll have a whole plant. My thought on seeing these smiling little sprouts is always, “Wow, look what I made! Oh, wait – I didn’t make it at all.” That’s the real miracle.
I’ve used two different methods: Fancy little greenhouse trays that fit rows of peat pellets, and ugly old trays filled with regular potting soil. Each work just fine, so don’t fret if you don’t have an extravagant setup. For peat pellets, simply follow the package instructions to prepare them. It usually requires an amount of warm water and waiting 15 – 20 minutes for them to expand before placing the seeds in the tiny divots. For using potting soil, you can choose any array of container. This year I even have them planted in cut apart plastic milk jugs (just cut off the bottom half) since they’ll be transfered into the garden later anyway. I also recycled some of those nasty plastic clamshell containers from the grocery store. With their clear lids, I have an instant greenhouse.
Be sure to use seeds purchased recently. Older seeds may not sprout. Plant the seeds the depth indicated on the packet. You should keep the soil misted and damp until the seeds are sprouted, then cut back on the watering. Herbs don’t like dampness. My rule of thumb is to water them only when the soil is dry when I stick my finger in about an inch. You’ll find some herbs want a little more water and others not so much – when in doubt ask the plant.
Herbs like sunlight, but don’t put your seedlings in a window where they will receive direct light. You’ll also find that most herbs aren’t very partial to chilly temperatures. Up here in the north, my herbs get a little babied this time of year. I keep them back from chilly windows, still in little patches of sun when I can. Ms. Rosemary is especially fussy and only likes the window spot when it’s sunny and warm, but the Lemon Balm triplets flourish no matter the outside temps! They think “dodging the draft” is for wimps. (I have to remember to explain to them what that means – they’re young yet.)
Check back with dkMommy Spot later in the season for how to transplant. In the meantime, enjoy the growing process! You’ll soon find out it’s not only easy to learn how to grow herbs indoors from seeds – it’s miraculous!