How to raise herbs SOW & GROW

Buy a cou­ple of herbs, then learn how easy it is to raise herbs from seed, and take cut­tings and di­vi­sions to re­plen­ish your gar­den.

Herbs & Superfoods - - Grow Your Own Herb Garden -

Sow herb seeds in trays or pun­nets of seed-rais­ing mix for the best re­sults. Seed-rais­ing mix is worth the ex­pense be­cause it’s made from a ster­ile blend of peat and fine pumice, with fungi­cide to check po­ten­tial prob­lems and a wet­ting agent to evenly dis­trib­ute mois­ture through the mix so your seeds don’t drown or die from de­hy­dra­tion. Drainage is es­sen­tial. Soil that holds too much mois­ture can lead to a fun­gal dis­ease called damp­ing off, which is fa­tal to young seedlings.

Herbs that have long tap­roots, in­clud­ing co­rian­der, chervil and bor­age, are best sown di­rectly in the ground or in deep pots. If you mean to trans­plant them, sow in peat pots or plugs to min­imise root dis­tur­bance.

The depth of soil you sprin­kle on top of the seeds af­ter sow­ing is im­por­tant. While a seed has its own food sup­ply, it only has enough for lim­ited growth. If seeds are sown too deeply, es­pe­cially tiny ones, they will use up all their food sup­plies and die be­fore they reach the sur­face.

Most seeds should be covered by the mer­est sprin­kle of soil, just so you can no longer see the seeds. Tiny seeds can be left un­cov­ered and sim­ply pressed into the soil. Check the back of your seed packet for in­for­ma­tion on sow­ing re­quire­ments. If sow­ing in trays, sow plants with sim­i­lar ger­mi­na­tion rates to­gether. Once your seeds have ger­mi­nated, ex­pose them to as much light as pos­si­ble or the seedlings will be­come weak and leggy.

Seeds need a con­stant sup­ply of mois­ture to ger­mi­nate and grow well, but don’t over­wa­ter or they’ll rot. Con­versely, if the soil dries out, ger­mi­na­tion is ham­pered, or in most cases, ceases al­to­gether. Use a wa­ter­ing can with a fine rose so as not to dis­turb the seeds.

The first leaves that ap­pear are the seed leaves, called cotyle­dons. The true leaves de­velop af­ter these. Once there are one or two pairs of true leaves, prick­ing out can be­gin. Pre­pare in­di­vid­ual pots for plant­ing, and fill them with potting mix. Use a sharp stick, pen­cil or dib­ber, and prise the roots of your seedlings loose while gen­tly pulling the seedling away by one of the cotyle­dons. Poke a hole big enough to ac­com­mo­date the root sys­tem in the fresh potting mix. Drop the seedling in the hole and gen­tly firm the potting mix around the roots. Water gen­tly, then place your seedlings in a shel­tered spot in bright light – not di­rect sun­light – to grow on. Once they’re a rea­son­able size and have hard­ened off, they can be planted out in the gar­den.

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