Herbs (From Seed) 2018

April 8th. We had another bout of snow. It is getting really old at this point. I really hope that Mother Nature has a beautiful Summer and long warm fall in store for us this year.

With the snow outside, I was in the mood to sow some more seeds. So this time around, is Herbs.

A few years ago, I made my own “Italian Seasoning” and it was one of my favourite things that I did that  year. Herbs kind of take care of themselves once they are in a spot they like, so they can be a great beginner project. Additionally, there are quite a few that can be perennial so you don’t need to start fresh every single year. Last year, a bunch of my herbs all survived the winter (which was pretty mild – unlike this year), and I’m hoping they survive again.

I’m going to type out each description from the seed packets, Same as I have done for most seed sowing I’ve done this year.

  • Stevia
    • West Coast Seeds (2018)
    • “This amazing plant’s leaves have extracts said to be 200 times sweeter than sugar. The plant, which does well in the border or in containers, grows to 60 cm (24″) tall with clusters of tiny, but attractive white flowers emerging from every stem”
    • I tried growing Stevia from seed last year (or the year before) and they just fizzled out before it was even warm enough to go outside. I’m hoping this year will be better.
  • Catnip
    • McKenzie Seeds (2018)
    • “Cats love the minty aroma. Dry leaves can be used in cat toys or sprinkled sparingly on cat food. Prefers well drained soil. Harvest flowers before seeds set and dry in a dark, well ventilated place. Can also be grown indoors. Perennial. Zone 3”
    • If you want to grow cat nip too, I recommend having a strong cover on it to protect it from all the neighbourhood cats (or your own cat). The last 2 years, the catnip I had was growing well, and then was ravaged and killed early because of all the cat activity.
  • Lemon Balm
    • McKenzie Seeds (2015)
    • “Bushy perennial plant with light green leaves that has a lemon scent and lemon-mint flavored leaves. Use with soups, meats, fish, sauces and salads. Transplants well. Harvest leaves anytime. For drying, harvest leaves in the early morning. Dry quickly to retain flavour. Heirloom. Perennial. Zone 4.”
    • Lemon Balm is one of my favourites to grow, just to pinch the leaves and smell them. I don’t particularly love tea, but just the scent of this plant fills me with so much joy.
  • Oregano (‘Origanum vulgare hirtum’)
    • Burpee Seeds (2014)
    • “Use as a spicy flavouring in tomato sauces, egg and cheese dishes, vegetable stews, meat and chicken dishes and pizza. Annual”
    • I only sowed one peat pellet of the Oregano, but I figured that I can just buy a quick plant in the spring to supplement my herb garden if this one doesn’t take off.
  • Sweet Marjoram (‘Origanum marjorana’)
    • Burpee Seeds (2014)
    • “Leaves add flavour, fresh or dry to soups, dressings, beans and meat dishes. Annual”
  • Thyme
    • McKenzie Seeds (2014)
    • “Ideal for flavouring meats, fish, stuffing, stews and soups. Sow indoors 4-6 weeks before the last frost. Transplant to a well-drained area in the garden. Ready to harvest in 85 days”
    • The Thyme I started in 2016, survived winter and I enjoyed using it fresh all summer. I started one peat pellet of this as a back-up in-case the Survivor-Thyme doesn’t make it through this much harsher winter.
  • Summer Savory
    • McKenzie Seeds (2014)
    • “The leaves have a sharp, peppery thyme flavor that is well suited for bean dishes, meat pies, poultry dressings, salads, soups and caseroles. Prefers well drained soil. Keep moist. Pack soil around stem to prevent plants from falling. Pick leaves anytime after plant is established. For drying, cut off entire plant just before flowering and hang to dry. Annual”
    • My Summer Savory also survived winter last year, despite it saying that it is an annual. I don’t expect it to survive again this year, and finding this herb as a plant can be hit or miss. I’ve found it at the walmart garden centre one year, and then never again.
  • ‘Cinnamon’ Basil
    • McKenzie Seeds (2015)
    • “A native to Mexico, the leaves have a spicy cinnamon flavor; flowers are deep pink with purple bracts. Add to hot beverages for added taste. Start seeds at anytime for indoor use. Plants require an organically rich, well drained soil. Expect your first harvest 5-6 weeks after sowing. Sensitive to frost. Annual”
    • While I have a collection of a few different varieties of basil, I picked this one out of the bunch, for the same reason as the Lemon Balm… Just to sniff the leaves. It also has beautiful little flowers that the bees loved the year that I grew this before.
  • ‘Champion Moss Curled’ Parsley
    • McKenzie Seeds (2014)
    • “Dense fine foliage, closely curled, very dark green. Excellent for flavouring soups, salads, stews or as a garnish and very good for freezing. Hasten germination by soaking seeds for 24 hours in luke-warm water. Biennial. Prefers partial shade.”
    • Parsley is one of my favourite herbs to grow and then dry for use in the Kitchen. It stays a beautiful green through the drying and keeps wonderfully.
  • ‘Plain Leaved’ Parsley
    • Mr. Fothergills’s Seeds (2013)
    • “Flat leaves superior in flavour. Cold hardy. Use in salads, soups, on fish and poultry.”
    • Like I said above, Parsley is a favourite. And this flat leaf type does dry for kitchen use much better than the curled type, but I do like having both types in the garden.

I will also be growing Dill and if I can find a plant, some Chocolate Mint.

 

 

 

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Still Alive

Okay, it has been well over a month since I posted ANYTHING here. I am sorry about it, since it is kind of the time of year where I have tons of things growing and all the gardening enthusiasm forever. However… I’ve been going pretty non-stop with making things which keeps me away from gardening. (You can check out the Etsy Shop here to see some of the things!) This was a benefit a little earlier, when I didn’t allow myself to start sowing a million seeds. It’s all fine when they are seeds but then they grow and need potting up and then take up triple the space. Space that I do not have. Plus my creative brain gets to be happy and just do as it pleases.

But it meant that I severely neglected my blog. I tried to think of a schedule that I could try and follow for posts here… but I know myself better than that, and would end up apologizing infinitely for not meeting promises of posts because I got distracted. So instead, I’m just going to do what I kind of already do, and just write when the mood strikes. That might mean I write 4 posts in a day and then schedule them, or it might mean (unfortunately) going weeks between posts. I will try to keep it regular, but sometimes it can’t be helped, and me apologising every few weeks is pretty lame.

I wanted to pop in and show you that I legit do have things going on in the garden. So here are some photos:


Rhubarb is taking off! I hope to use more of it this year.


I rescued some raspberries from a garden that was getting a complete makeover. I wish I had grabbed more of them, as I have room for at least 4 more plants. I’m hopeful these fruit on old wood, and I’ll get a harvest this year from them.


Strawberries are looking good. I still need to figure out how to keep the squirrels off of them.


The Sweet Williams that I sowed last year survived winter and I cannot wait to see them this year. They are for my grandpa.


I bought myself a rose for my Birthday. Partly because it is white and I love white roses, and partly because of its name: “Iceberg”. As you can also see, the delphiniums are growing like crazy too. I even divided them and you can hardly tell I took away anything.


Spring onion patch. These just keep coming back so I leave them. I get fresh Spring onion, the bees get a flower they like, and I get fresh seed. Behind them I sowed the Garlic I had left from my crop last year. They are just starting to poke their heads up now. In the back corner of the photo, in front of the orange bag (full of leaves im going to use for mulch and the compost like), are poppies that survived winter! I’m pretty excited for them and hope they are as beautiful as I’ve imagined in my head.


Both my Taragon and Sage survived winter (in ground-not containers)! Possibly the Thyme, and Oregano too, but I’ll wait til June to decide if they legit survived or not.


I sowed this Lupin from seed! I’m glad to see it survived because my big beautiful one was completely destroyed by aphids last year. A second one also survived as well!


And I started digging everything and getting it ready for planting! AND as you can see in the top left, one hollyhock survived the winter, so keep your fingers crossed for me that the flowers are as beautiful as I remember my grandma’s being.

Ps. My clematis died, so if I still have clematis dreams I’ll have to get yet another new plant.

Update on the Herbs (2016)

I figured it was time for an Herb Update. I’m doing way better with keeping these alive this year too! Here is the big Herb Post where I sowed most of these. I have potted everything up, and sowed some Dill as well.

Spearmint in the back, Lemon Balm in the front

  • Lemon Balm
    • sown: January 23
    • potted up: March 5 (3″ pot)
  • Spearmint
    • sown: January 23
    • potted up: March 5 (3″ pot)
  • Lavender
    • sown: January 23
    • potted up: March 5 (Recycled 6 cell that flowers from the garden center come in)
    •  
  • Thyme
    • sown: March 11
    • potted up: April 9 (Party Cups)
  • Summer Savory
    • sown: March 11
    •  potted up: April 9 (Party Cups)
  • Sweet Marjoram
    • sown: March 11
    • potted up: April 9 (Party Cups)
  • Russian Tarragon
    • sown: March 11
    • potted up: April 9 (Party Cups)
  • Oregano
    • sown: March 11
    • potted up: April 9 (Party Cups)
  • Catnip
    • sown: March 11
    • potted up: April 7 (Party Cups)
    •  
  • Flat Leaf Parsley
    • sown: March 11
    • potted up: April 9 (Party Cups)
  • ‘Champion Moss Curled’ Parsley
    • sown: March 11
    • potted up: April 9 (Party Cups)
  • Chamomile
    • sown: March 11
    • potted up: April 9 (3″ pots)
    •  
  • Rosemary
    • sown: March 11
    • potted up: April 9 (3″ pot)
  • ‘Red Rubin’ Basil
    • sown: March 11
    • potted up: April 9
  • ‘Genovese o Comune’ Basil
    • sown: March 11
    • potted up: April 9 (Party Cups)
  • ‘Lemon’ Basil
    • sown: March 11
    • potted up: April 9 (Party Cups)
  • ‘Lime’ Basil
    • sown: March 11
    • potted up: April 9 (Party Cups)
  • ‘Cinnamon’ Basil
    • sown: March 11
    • potted up: April 9 (Party Cups)
  • Sage
    • sown: March 11
    • These won’t get potted up until they go out into their final pot, as they were sown in larger cells that flowers from the garden center come in.
  • Garlic Chives
    • sown: March 11
    • Just like the Sage, these won’t get potted up until I put them outside in their final pot.
  • Stevia
    • sown: March 14
    • Not potted up yet, I’m just happy that I have ONE that has survived out of the 3 that germinated. Scratch that, I’m just happy that my future Mother-in-Law sent me the seeds so I could get this far. I STILL haven’t found any seeds around here.
  • Dill
    • sown: April 9 (Party Cup)
    • Typically, it is recommended to direct sow Dill, but I figured I would  try and get a little jump on the season. I usually miss out on my Dill because I plant it too late, or I forget to take into account the growth of plants around where I sow it, and it gets shaded out before It really gets established. So maybe, just maybe this will help my Dill situation. Worst case, they don’t like getting transplanted, and I have to direct sow. Best case, I end up with loads of Dill

 

Sorry for the lack of photos on some of the herbs; they turned out blurry. Their pictures in the next update will be better (I hope). I hope your herbs are growing well! Spring is on her way here, I even saw a Robin today.

Herbs for 2016

I bit the bullet and sowed some of my herbs. I felt a little guilty having a big hoard of herb seeds and never dedicating any honest effort in growing them. So I did it. I stuck some of the hoard into dirt.

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As I mentioned, on January 23, I sowed Lavender, Lemon Balm and Spearmint. And I recently potted them up from the little peat pellets they were started in. I recommend planting some Lavender, just for the aroma therapy of it. You just have to disturb the leaves a little and the air is filled with a wonderful lavender scent. Do it, you won’t be disappointed. And do the same with the Lemon Balm. Its citrus-y scent is delightful (And you can make a little tea from the leaves).

On March 11, I filled up some little seed cells that I have, and sowed the following:

  • 3x Thyme
  • 2x Summer Savory
  • 2x Sweet Marjoram
  • 2x Russian Tarragon
  • 2x Oregano
  • 2x ‘Red Rubin’ Basil
  • 2x ‘Genovese o Comune’ Basil
  • 2x Flat Leaf Parsley
  • 2x ‘Champion Moss Curled’ Parsley
  • 2x Chamomile
  • 2x Catnip
  • 1x Rosemary
  • 1x ‘Cinnamon’ Basil
  • 1x ‘Lemon’ Basil
  • 1x ‘Lime’ Basil

I also started some Sage and some Garlic Chives in larger seed cells. There is 2 cells of each of those. Also, I will be growing Dill, but I’ll wait until its closer to putting them outside to try and start some inside. I usually forget about the Dill until its too late, and then it doesn’t mature in time to harvest anything more than a few sprigs. I am hopeful that starting the Dill a little early, I can actually get enough to both use fresh, and have some to dry to use throughout the winter.

I am also keeping my fingers crossed that I will find some Stevia seed. I really really want to grow my own sweetener.

Looking at that list seems a little daunting, and I hope that I can keep these surviving until its safe for them to go outside. Ultimately, like last year, if they don’t make it, I will replace them from plants from the garden centre… but lets hope that doesn’t have to happen this time around.

Do you start any herbs from seed? Leave a comment below with any tips or tricks or questions.

 

UPDATE: My wonderful future Mother-in-Law sent me some Stevia seeds! I started 3 peat pellets of them as soon as I opened the envelope on March 14th!! Fingers crossed they germinate!!

UPDATE #2: The Tarragon germinated in 2 days!!!! Not even kidding. 

March 23/2014 Garden Update (Herbs and Flowers)

Yesterday I updated you on the progress of all the edibles, saving today for Herbs and Flowers.

We go through a lot of “Italian seasoning” around here because of the amount of spaghetti we end up having for dinner on work nights. It’s fast, easy and cheap. And the majority of the ingredients we typically use, we can stock up on and keep in the cupboard. I made it a goal to try and make my own. So this year, I am growing all the “spices” listed in the ingredients. The few I don’t have yet (like Rosemary) I will purchase as already started plants.

Sage and Parsley
(started Feb. 15)
They are doing pretty good. The parsley really reaches for the light, so as soon as I have a warm enough place, they will be moving.

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Oregano, Thyme, Summer Savory, Marjoram
(started: March 9th, March 15, March 15, and March 17)
They are all forming little green carpets of sprouts in their little pots. No true leaves yet, but they are only a week (give or take) old.

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Basil
(started: March 15)
Tiny sprouts. Will start more to go by tomato plants in the next couple weeks. I need to replenish my seed starting supplies.

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Basil on the left
Catnip on the right

Garlic Chives
(started: March 15)
I started these in a peat pot and they have been quite a lot slower than anticipated. BUT I usually place plastic wrap over the edges of pots to help speed germination, and these didn’t get that treatment. They are just barely starting to poke through the surface now.

Spearmint
(started: February 28)
These are like tiny little green carpets on the peat pellet they were started in. They have just got their true leaves, and some are starting on their second set. I will have to pot them up soon.

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Catnip
(started: March 15)
Sprouted within a couple days! I am kind of looking forward to having my own catnip plant… I’m sure Ekki and Hali (my cats) are too.

Lavender
(started: March 5)
These are working on true leaves. When you brush your hand over the little seedlings, they release that relaxing lavender scent already. Sniffing my seedlings could become a problem. I may end up keeping one in a pot in the house just for aroma therapy!
2 years ago I had a beautiful Lavender plant in the yard, but Wilson (my little dog) peed all over it an it died. Hopefully I can keep him away from these ones.

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Lemon Balm
(started: January 1)
I could probably spend a good, solid half hour talking endlessly about Lemon Balm. I love it. I have already been “harvesting” from my little plants, to help encourage them to grow bushy, rather than tall.

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Those are all of my herbs so far. Now onto the flowers:

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Viola and Bee Balm

Columbine (started: March 15)

These are slow to germinate… but I think I see some trying to poke through the surface. I may start some earlier next year.

Hollyhocks (started: March 15)

These jumped up almost immediately. They will be ready to be potted up soon.

Viola (started: February 28)

Slowly working on their true leaves.

Bee Balm (started: March 12)

Sprouted a few days ago. We had these in the flower bed at one house growing up, and I remember just watching all the butterflies on them. Fingers crossed that they will attract the butterflies (and bees, and all the other pollinators) here too. If I can get them to maturity… I failed last year.

That is all that is growing right now. As soon as I have more room (and seed starting supplies) I will start more basil and few other flowers. I have been thinking of adding some chamomile to my herb/flower area, so I may try and find some of those seeds soon.

Here is the link to last week’s Herb and Flower update.