Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Spice it up

On Sunday March 6th I decided to plant some herbs. These can be started indoors anytime during the year. I wanted to get these going early so I would have some fresh herbs. I hoping to make an herb planter for out on the patio. I did not have any Rosemary seeds so I talked my wife into taking a trip with me to the local greenhouse.
Oh what an oasis a real greenhouse is from a Minnesota winter. Just walking into the one hot house that was open was so invigorating. The WARMTH and HUMIDITY and the smell of WET SOIL. I could have stayed in there all afternoon. But we didn't. We bought the seeds and returned home.
Rosemary is hard to start from seed. Some seeds need stratification or chilling in order to break their dormancy. Rosemary does not, supposedly but if you go on line you will find advice to chill the seed and warm it. Also Rosemary does not need a high germination temperature. So here's what I did.
Rosemary and germination tray. Now the seed packet says to plant Rosemary 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep. That's kind of deep for the size of the seed. Here I customized a ruler so I could measure soil depths.

Then just use the ruler to trench the seed starter mixture.
Check to make sure you have the approximate depth.
And then plant the seeds. Oh, and here is something anal/retentive you won't want to miss. Open your seed packets on the bottom of the package. Like this ----
That way after you sow a few seeds from the packet you can fold the edges back up and store them for next year. I have kept seeds for 3 to 4 years this way and they have still been viable. It's a strange way to save about 25 cents but if you factor in the shipping to purchase seeds that all adds up. So then you really save about a dollar. Anyway, after you fold up the packages they look like this and you can still read what's in each one.

Please notice that I wrote the germination temperature on the Thyme seed package. 70 degrees. Now back to the Rosemary. The seed is planted in the tray, moistened and then I put it in a plastic baggie.
From there it goes to the good old Frigidaire.

and into the drawer for some chillin'
I have been leaving it in the Frigidaire overnight and then I put it back in the grow center on the cement floor. Like I said, Rosemary does not need a "high" germination temperature. Unfortunately it has a low germination percentage so always plant more of the seed than you need.
Some seeds will have an easier time breaking dormancy if you soak them overnight. Parsley is one of those seeds. So I put some parsley seed in a cup and added a little water. I soaked those seeds overnight before planting them.

Now I have in my heated germination tray, Parsley, Sweet Basil, and Thyme. On the floor I have Rosemary. That should make a nice herb garden. FRESH HERBS ARE THE BEST !

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