Spring into Herbs! By Debi

Have you tried growing herbs from seed? If you are an herb lover, you may want to get started on growing several varieties so they will be ready to grace your summer vegetables and recipes. Many can be started from seed (which are now available in stores as well as from online sources) and others from cuttings.

A favorite for making salsa and adding to other dishes is cilantro. This is a fairly easy one to start from seed indoors in a lightweight potting soil. Small plastic or clay pots, flats, jiffy pots, peat pots, plastic cups, cans or egg cartons with holes punched in the bottom all make acceptable containers for starting seeds. Sow seeds ½ inch apart, depending upon your container and how many plants you want. As a general rule, the depth of planting seeds should be 3x their greatest diameter, with larger seeds, like beans, planted twice as deep as their diameter. Make sure the soil is evenly moist when you plant the seeds, and keep constantly moist while they germinate. I like to cover my seeds with some kind of clear plastic dome or create a mini greenhouse out of plastic wrap with stakes for the corners. This keeps the humidity up and the seeds germinate faster. Place your newly planted seeds in a warm place to germinate and remove the plastic as they begin to sprout. After sprouting place in the sunniest place you have available to prevent spindly seedlings. Soon you will have a nice sized plant that can be transplanted into a bigger pot or moved directly to a garden bed outdoors after danger of frost.

Try other herbs from seed such as basil (lots of different kinds), dill, chives, flat leaf and curly parsley, thyme and oregano for a great selection.

Rosemary, lavender, sage and mints are all fairly easy to grow from cuttings from a mother plant if someone is willing to share! Try snipping off a 6” piece from the tip of a soft stem (not woody), strip the leaves off the bottom 3” and place that end in the same type potting soil that you used for your seeds. Keep the soil moist and the cutting out of direct sunlight until rooting begins. You can make a little ‘greenhouse’ for these as well by putting a plastic bag over the pot with some little stakes (or twist a coat hanger to make a hoop). Soon roots will begin to form underground and your cutting will be putting out new growth, ready to be transplanted. These herbs are perennial, meaning they will come back year after year when planted outside.

Are you excited to begin? I can’t wait to hear about your herbal ideas, uses, favorites and success stories!

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16 thoughts on “Spring into Herbs! By Debi

    1. I think you would find quite a lot in the Bible, Sara. I think God covered a long list when He told Adam and Eve “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth,”
      Some that I can think of specifically are hyssop (a symbol of cleansing); mustard (the smallest seed in the parable used by Jesus); and those found in Matthew 23:23: “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices–mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law–justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.”

    2. Jesus ate the Passover lamb with bitter herbs and spices the night before His crucifixion. Mary poured a costly anointing balm of herbs and spices over Jesus head and feet from her alabaster box. Jesus said what she had done would be proclaimed wherever the Gospel would be preached for she had anointed Him for His burial.
      We are close to Holy Week and keep these things in our hearts, pondering over the wonder of them and the glorious, faultless work of the Cross.

    1. Tammy it was a ‘team’ effort between my plant science students and me. One student planted the cilantro seeds and another student transplanted it to the pot in the picture and I added the other herbs. We are getting pots like these ready for our school’s spring plant sale…and tasting the herbs along the way! I agree with you on the cilantro taste…great!

  1. purslane…does anyone know anything about growing this? Have you tried in your salads? Would like to hear how you liked it and how easy it is to grow? I’ve read the nutritional benefits are great.

  2. What I know about purslane (Portulaca oleracea) is that it is a common succulent weed found in many lawns that homeowners often want to get rid of as they see it develop in the summer. It grows easily and comes back each year from its flower seeds. I am glad to find out that it is edible and nutritional. I will try to suggest to those that ask me about weeds in their lawn to consider harvesting it for food. I would suggest that if you use weed killer on your lawn or area that purslane grows in, that you do not eat it. Try to harvest it from uncontaminated areas.

    1. O, my, Debi, I read yesterday when ordering a salad try and make sure this was in the salad. It listed lots of nutritional value. Maybe like mushrooms. Some for us and some not!

      1. I am sure it is fine…I would like some myself!…I read you can order seeds and plant for harvesting purslane so probably restaurants know what they are doing and not getting from somebody’s lawn!

  3. I understand there are many other edible ‘weeds’ with varying nutrition/health benefits. Every spring my grandmother went in search of field cress and explained to me that there were male and female plants and to choose the male, flat leaved variety before it goes to seed for its peppery taste and good nutrition. She would pick bag fulls and then take home to cook. I am not sure if she ate dandelion greens but understand it is bitter tasting but high in iron.

  4. Can’t wait to start a pot of herbs. Will try and do one this weekend. A friend told me that down here in Mandeville she has had trouble with cilantra. Is there something I can do about that as I use it a lot.

    On a side note can I grow banana peppers down here in a pot?

  5. Rena, cilantro should grow great in the cooler temp times of Mandeville. It goes to seed in heat and then the seeds can be used in cooking as coriander. If you let it reseed, then probably new plants will come up from the seed. Keep harvesting regularly and provide good drainage and air circulation in the pot. The peppers love heat so they should do fine in a well drained pot.

    1. Yeah Debi,

      Thank you so much. I will tell my friend Miss Lillian about the cilantro. Maybe I better grow the peppers by themselves. Thanks again.

  6. Reflecting on this upcoming Easter week, herbs played an important part in events in the Bible….from hyssop and bitter herbs used in Passover to the ‘spices’ that were used for Jesus burial.

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