One of the most frustrating experiences for a home cook is to be halfway through a new, exciting recipe only to discover you’re out of a specific herb listed in the ingredient list. Sure you can skip adding that tiny portion of rosemary the recipe calls for but, more times than not, it’s that small amount of herb that will give the dish big flavor. One solution to this problem is growing an herb garden.
Herb gardens are easy to grow as you do not need a lot of growing room. And if you live in an apartment, you can grow herbs in pots. Herbs that are easy to grow include basil, chives, cilantro, dill, fennel, parsley, sage, and thyme just to name a few. Here’s how to start an herb garden using seeds and seed starting flats with clear dome covers…
- Purchase your seeds and a seed starting flat with a clear dome cover. Fill the cells (holes in the flat) with moistened seed-starting mix.
- Place one to two seeds in each cell. Cover seeds with about 1/8 inch of the seed-starting mix. Pat soil down lightly and then spray the soil with water using a spray bottle. Note: A spray bottle is best for seeds as it does not disrupt the soil like the pressure from a watering can or watering hose would.
- Cover the flat with the cover to keep the soil moist, and place flat in a warm room with a temperature of 70 to 75 degrees F.
- When the seedlings break through the soil remove the cover. Place flat in a brightly lit location with a cooler temperature. Try an East exposure.
- Make sure to keep the soil moist. If the flat does not have holes in the bottom of the cells, you want to make sure to not overwater.
- When seedlings reach 2 inches tall, transplant them into individual pots.
Growing an herb garden is a wonderful way to enjoy fresh-from-the-pot herbs and is a great family activity for kids. And the health benefits are not too shabby. Did you know that rosemary helps boost brainpower? And peppermint has been shown to relieve irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Oregano helps fight inflammation via its active ingredient beta-caryophyllin (E-BCP). And thyme and sage each offer high amounts of antioxidants, which help fight off disease-causing free radicals.