There are numerous advantages to growing herbs from seed. Home-sown herbs are cheaper than those purchased from a nursery, and home-grown seedlings have healthy, garden-ready root balls when the time comes to transplant them. However, some herbs are best propagated in other ways.
Growing from seed
Fill a pot with high-quality soil and gently firm down. Water the soil and let it drain. Sow seed in dents or on the soil surface (in accordance with the package instructions).
Lightly cover the seed with vermiculite or more potting soil. Water again. Set the tray in a warm place and don’t let the soil dry out.
As seedlings develop, they require more space to grow. Transplant them into individual or larger pots when they have formed at least four true leaves above the seed leaves.
Remove the seedlings from their pot, carefully pulling them out by their true leaves, not by the stem, and squeezing the base of the pot or tray.
Make a hole in a pot of soil and put the seedling in. Fill with more soil, firm down gently, water, and place in a warm, bright spot out of direct sunlight.
Growing young plants
Sometimes it’s not practical to raise plants from seed yourself, especially if you only want to grow a handful of different plants and don’t have room to sow lots of seedlings, or if a plant is difficult to grow from seed. Garden centers have a wide selection of young plants, but nurseries have a broader range.
If you want to grow your herb plant in a pot, replant it when you get home from the nursery in a pot double the size than the one you purchased it in. You will have to repeat the process when your plants outgrow their new pots.
Check if your new pot has a drainage hole. Put a handful of gravel at the bottom, half-fill with potting compost, and remove the plant from its pot.
Remove the plant from its old pot. Place the plant into its new pot and fill with potting soil, firming in gently as you go. Water the plant well.
Planting into the garden
Young plants purchased from a nursery should be large enough to plant outdoors in the garden as soon as you come home. Plant them as soon as possible to allow their roots to establish.
Prepare the soil by digging into the top 6–12in (15–30cm) of soil until it becomes loose. Dig a generous hole and put the herb in the hole to the same depth it was in its pot.
Backfill around the plant and firm it in with the palms of your hands. Water the plant well.