Janice Brown, of On the Grow, tells us how to get our herb gardens started before the Fall planting season.
Herbs are an easy addition to any garden and an easy endeavor for beginning gardeners. They don’t require lots of care and many of them actually thrive from a little neglect once established in the garden. The traditional times to plant herbs outside on the Gulf Coast are around February and October. Around these months, it’s safe to plant transplants outside to let them get established before harsh weather sets in. If you want to get some transplants ready for fall planting, you can start some seeds inside now.
Starting Seeds Indoors
The key to starting seeds indoors is getting your light and spacing right. To get off to a good start, I suggest planning these out before you plant your seeds. If you’re strictly growing indoors, I suggest getting a grow light to mimic natural light. Using a grow light will ensure short, stocky plants, as opposed to thin, spindly plants that are caused by seedlings reaching for the sun from a window. Set the lights on a timer for 14 hours a day and keep the lights 2-4 inches away from the tops of the herbs.
Spacing is key to keep seeds from being too crowded as they grow. To help with spacing, using small plastic starter pots helps. The temptation with larger pots is to put too many seeds in them. Keep in mind that each seed equals one plant that is going to get large. Ideal starting pots are 2 inches in diameter. In a pot this size, plant 2-3 seeds as far apart as possible. Once they germinate, pull out the 2 weakest seedlings, leaving the healthiest to grow into a mature plant. You can transplant the seedlings you pull out if you like. If you covered your seeds with plastic, remove the plastic once the seeds germinate.