The holidays are now a happy memory, the calendars for 2016 are hung on the wall, and it’s time to think about the coming garden year. While there are six more weeks before the last frost date for Houston is past, you can get a jump on spring planting by starting some herb seeds indoors.
There are quite a few herbs you can start growing in January. Cool season annuals such as cilantro, chervil, and caraway are first on the list. Once you’ve got them started it’s time to turn your attention to some other herb annuals and biennials such as dill, parsley, summer savory, caraway, cumin, and German chamomile, and feverfew. Last to start should be all the varieties of basil you want to grow. This much loved herb grows best with warmer weather than almost any other annual herb.
Begin your seed starting with clean pots or seedling trays. There are several types of seed starting systems on the market. I like seed starting trays with a water reservoir and capillary mats underneath that draw water into the soil.
Use seeds packed for 2016 and a quality seed starting medium such as you will find at Arbor Gate. Don’t use potting soil from last year where anything died under suspicious circumstances. Make sure your soil medium is completely wetted before you begin sowing.
Read the seed package directions before sowing. They will often include tips on how to ensure a good rate of germination. If the seeds are very tiny, you might want to combine them with fine sand to make them easier to broadcast.
Once the seeds are sown, check your trays daily to ensure they remain moist. First to appear will be a pair of pseudo-leaves closely followed by the first true leaves. Once that happens, give yourself a pat on the back. You’re on your way to a healthy, bountiful garden for 2016.