Sowing herbs from scratch

This year I planted herb seeds – biennials and perennials.  My mother sows loads of basil and lemon basil  (which are both annual and best kept indoors in Ireland) every year.  Lucky us – basil really is the taste of summer and other basil flavours, such as lemon basil are amazing stirred into a thai curry at the end of cooking.

Unless you want tons of herbs for yourself or your business or you plan to give away established plants to friends and family, buying packets of individual herbs seeds can be a waste.  Especially if they’re perennial – where you’ll only sowing them once and you’ll have them in your garden for years.  So if you want herbs for your backyard to supply the kitchen, buying established plants is probably the most practical thing to do.

Varieties I sowed so far:

Flat-leaf parsley – this is supposed to have better flavour than the curly variety so I set about planning a decent supply of this biennial.  The seeds were slow to come up but are pretty sturdy once they did.  The seeds are small so I planted them in a shallow tray close together and transplanted to large pots when they were 1-2 inch high.  I started them indoors in the tunnel and glasshouse and am starting to harden them off now by leaving outdoors during the day and bringing in at night.

Chervil – again the seeds are small, so I planted them close together and transplanted (well my mother did – thank you!) to larger pots once they were 2 inches or so.  They germinate fairly quickly and seem to be pretty hardy.  I think it’s biennial also, so will probably plant some every year.  Chervil has an aniseedy flavour and is an ingredient in tartare sauce along with tarragon and parsley.  It’s good for fish.  These are hardening off at the moment and will be ready for outdoor beds next week.

Oregano and Marjoram – I only sowed a few of these, as I have plants outdoors that survived the winter pretty well and are very abundant at the moment.  Again, I started these indoors and have yet to harden them off.

Mint – Way too much! Let me know if you need any.  The seed is tiny so I planted lots of mint in a tray.  Mint is really quite easy to germinate from seed and as we know, will take over your garden later on if given an inch.  I’m buying some lovely pots for all my mint!

Coriander – I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been sprinkling coriander seed into a large pot every week or two in order to ensure a steady supply of  it.  It gets stalky and goes to seed easily.  Easy to germinate – comes up in a week or so.


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Kate on May 12, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    I’ll take some mint off your hands…I love fresh mint tea! I think you’re right about buying established plants. I have sown far too many herb and fear they are going to waste. However my lettuce leaves are now big enough to start using and are simply delicious in sandwiches! So full of flavour!


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