Growing your own herbs from seed is easier than you think.
The smell of cilantro in the garden is intoxicating! Just working around it will send you into all kinds of mouthwatering ideas of how to use it. The problem most people have with growing their own herbs from seed is the challenge of germination. If you start herbs from seed and grow them to a mature plant, the taste difference will surprise you and the satisfaction of being successful is sweet. And it saves you money! I’ll help you start your herbs from seed with step-by-step instructions. Before you begin, decide what herbs you commonly use. It’s fun to try one or two new herbs too.
Your shopping list:
- “Seed Starter” soilless compost
- Old yogurt cups with holes poked in the bottoms, paper pots, or purchased trays for starting plants.
- Herb seeds!
- A spray nozzle with a mist setting or a watering can that you can dribble water out of
All of these supplies can be found at your local home improvement stores that have a garden section. Store leftover seeds in their packet and place the packets in a freezer ziploc or freezer container.
Start your herbs from seeds three months before your Spring planting date.
I start herbs when I sow my tomato seeds-the first few days in January. Calculate about 12 weeks before your normal planting date for a vegetable garden. The reason you need to begin early is that the hot summer months is a challenge to most herbs. If you wait until Spring to sow seeds, you may still be successful but be prepared to grow them in a spot that has only morning sun. I have herbs year round on or next to my front porch that faces east in various pots. They get morning sunshine and plenty of water.
To start your own herbs:
- Fill your tray of pots almost to the top with your soilless mixture.
- Very carefully allow 3-4 seeds per tray to fall into each cup
- Cover with just a light sprinkle of the same mixture
- Water with a mister, or carefully dribble water into each cup
- Water daily.
- Protect them from the cold
Once your seedlings get as tall as the cup they are in, they will need more room. At this point, they can also be planted directly into your garden or pot. Keep in mind that herbs do not like frost. You will need to cover them if they are outside or simply bring them inside. When you transplant them, use a spoon to lift the plants out because you don’t want to disturb the roots.
Herbs that I have successfully transplanted into the garden include cilantro and dill. I transplant the rest into pots where the morning is the only time they get direct sun. Our summer heat fries the tender herbs if they are in the sun all day.
Check potted herbs every day. Plants grown in pots tend to dry out very quickly and may need to be watered daily. I water the dill and cilantro that has been transplanted into the garden every other day.
It’s easy! And it saves you money!