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Herbs

THE WORLD OF HERBS
J. E. Kinghorn


THE WORLD OF HERBS
J. E. Kinghorn


Tips for a better herb garden

The first thing on a long list of chores to do in the Spring, is prune, weed & clean out the garden beds.  Strange as it may sound, I enjoy this because it proclaims the coming of warm weather, beautiful flowers and plants.  Next, you may want to think about what you would like to grow.  I usually find something `new' that I want to try and research a grower's guide.  If you're a gardener, experimenting with `new' plants is always enjoyable.

Tips:

   Remove fading flowers to extend life of short-lived herbs.  
   Remove flower stalks as soon as they appear on catnip & angelica to force them into another year of growth.
   Basil, dill & borage will self-sow and come back year after year if you allow at least two plants to go to seed. (Do not remove flower stalk.)
   Keep your annuals separate from the perennials.  You will need to re-work the soil for the annuals and do not want to disrupt the perennials.  
   Grow the tender perennials in containers or in an area where you can easily dig them up to over Winter indoors.  In our area tender perennials are usually grown as annuals.  This can save you $$$.  French Lavender, Rosemary, Bay & lemon Verbena are examples.
   Always use a sterile light weight seed starting mix when starting seeds indoors.
   Covering seed containers with a clear plastic  will help the containers from drying out.  Remove when seedling appear.
   Bottom watering is best when starting seeds indoors.
   Make sure the seedlings have adequate light.  


Getting seeds to sprout.

Some herb seeds take a long time to germinate. Some types of chile peppers, lavender, lovage, sweet cicely to name a few.

Chile Peppers - soak seed for about four hours prior to planting.  Plant in hot bed using a soil heating cable trying to keep soil temp. About 80 °.  Turn cable off at night
to mimic natural habitat.

Lavender-English lavender needs some encouragement to sprout.  I usually start seed indoors and transplant after seedling is about 6" high.  Keep moist in a sunny location.

You can boost germination by subjecting seeds to a period of moist cold conditions.  Roll seed in a damp paper towel sheet; one seed type per sheet.  Place each roll in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.  Check after a week or two to see if seed sprouted.  Once sprouted, plant immediately.
  
Sowing seeds outdoors:
 
Prepare soil carefully before direct-sowing.  A fine light soil is needed to allow seedling to emerge easily.  Be sure to plant seeds when soil temperatures are right for them.  Check package for directions.  It is important to designate cool season herbs from warm ones.  
Keep area moist with a fine mist.  Small seeds are easily washed away.

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