Herbal Gardening- Growing Herbs from Seed

Buying established herb plants from a reputable garden center is one way to start your herb garden, but growing herbs from seeds , while sometimes a bit more challenging, is also a lot more rewarding.

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Fortunately for "brown thumb" gardeners like me, growing herbs is easier than most plants.

Many people enjoy herbal gardening because they're hardy plants, enjoy lots of sun, and are amenable to soil that is too poor for many other plants. Dig up a few inches of earth and set one into the soil and you'll find that you don't have to do much else. Hardy herbs require only modest watering and rarely need fertilizer.

If all you are after is the end product, there's really little labor involved. But, you'll miss out on some of the fun. Growing herbs from seeds is harder, but so much more rewarding. There's such a real sense of satisfaction that comes from putting a seed into the ground and producing a full sized herb that you can eventually harvest.

Having said that, not all herbs will do equally well grown from seed.

Basil, Sage, Chives, and Dill are some good choices for those wanting to "start from scratch". Many other herbs don't produce viable seed or propagate so readily. Thyme is a good example, and Peppermint is another. Some herbs are hybrids that simply don't reproduce from seeds. French Tarragon, for example, doesn't produce viable "offspring". Rosemary has a low germination rate, so it can be a difficult undertaking to grow it from seed.

Once you have picked a species of herb to grow from seed, you should start with quality seeds. Like any other living organism, some have a greater potential to thrive than others. Give your chosen herb the best headstart by beginning with good seeds from a reliable company.

Once you have them, you'll need to decide whether you want to plant them in the garden or in a container. Many herbs do well in either environment, outdoors or indoors, but some have a "preference", they more readily take to one situation over the other. Basil does well in a container, while the Lavender is best left outside.

Two examples...


This one's pretty easy.

To plant Sweet Basil from seed, just sow the seeds then cover lightly with compost. Put the pot inside a plastic bag or cover it with a plate. Be sure the pot has good drainage, and water by putting a small amount in the drain portion.

Once the seeds have germinated (started to sprout), you can remove the bag or plate. Make sure they get good reflected light. Though planting a dozen seeds is a good idea to see which ones grow, you'll want to eventually thin your crop down to only a few per pot.


Borage is an herb which will do well outdoors in most climates that get adequate sun. You can start them in a small pot or seed tray, or right in the ground. Pick a spot that gets sun and where the ground is fairly dry. Cover the seeds thinly with a bit of your soil mixture and water lightly, just enough to keep the ground moist but not wet.

Once the seeds are established in a pot you can thin them to a few plants and transplant, if desired. Be sure to space them about 12 inches (30.5 cm) apart. The flowers can be used to garnish salads or in a soup where you want a bit of cucumber flavoring.

Herbs require only modest care when grown from seed. But some, like any other plant, will wither and others will thrive. Be prepared for a little experimentation to get your conditions just right, but, once you've got the right mix, growing herbs can not only be personally rewarding but financially rewarding as well.

Herbal Gardening

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Herbal Gardening - Growing Herbs from Seeds
Page Updated 3:28 PM Saturday 6/28/2014