When to start herbs from seeds Zone 3?

natalie403(7)February 9, 2010

Hello, as a new gardening, I have been reading and enjoying this forum. I would like to get suggestions on when to start the following herbs from seeds for the garden in Calgary (zone 3b). Should they be started indoor or sow directly outdoor?

- Borage

- Cilantro, Santo

- Dill, Fernleaf

- Mint, Spearmint

- Oregano, Greek

- Savory, Winter Savory

- Creeping Thyme

- Basil, Italian Large Leaf


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Hi Natalie

You have the same dilemma I do - I have both started indoors and sowed outdoors with mixed results. I find the perennials are better started indoors simply because they seem to need the time to get going. On the other hand, I have an herb pot that is a bear to transplant into, so I find sowing outdoors to be better for whatever ones I've decided to put in there.

Most herbs are 6-8 weeks prior to last frost (which I believe is May 25 in Calgary) for indoor sowing; be sure to read the instructions about germination temperature because I have frozen and/or cooked seeds on many occasions!

I sow my basil whenever it takes my fancy and it lives on my kitchen windowsill.


    Bookmark   February 9, 2010 at 3:17PM
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I always direct sow my dill, and start my basil inside. I've had good luck with borage outside. I've tried organo outside, wintersowing, and inside - wintersowing was the only one I had trouble with. I usually don't have much luck with thyme no matter what I do - I get terrible germination. This year I'm going to try it inside again. I hope this helps a bit


    Bookmark   February 10, 2010 at 4:20PM
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Pudge 2b

Here's some of my experiences growing herbs from seed.

Thyme: the best for eating is Summer Thyme. It germinates best (indoors) with a heat mat giving consistently warm temps, and then after germination it grows quite slow. This can be started any time now to have decent transplants.

Oregano germinates easy and grows a little quicker but would still be worth starting early as it takes a while to get plants to harvestable size.

I've not grown winter savory, but I do start Summer Savory each year - this is a fast growing plant and doesn't require seeding more than 6 weeks ahead of frost when started indoors.

Basil is another seed that benefits from warmth for germination. This plant most definitely will suffer from cool temps.

Dill and Borage can be direct seeded. I've not grown any type of mint from seed, only from cuttings. Be very, very careful where you plant this as mint's main purpose in life is to take over the world.

I've not grown Cilantro yet but I do have seeds to start this year. I'm planning to start them about mid-March and grow cooler rather than warmer.

I like to grow herbs in pots which, I find, keeps the plants cleaner therefore easier to harvest. You can also then place the pot in conditions the herbs like best. Basil, Oregano and Thyme all like as much heat and sun as you can throw at them and dryish soil. I like to make an herb garden in a 3 to 5 gallon pot, covering the soil with crushed rock after transplanting, which helps keep the soil warm and the herbs clean.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2010 at 10:20AM
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