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Over the past few years I have managed to turn my thumb from purple to green.... Except for when it comes to herbs! I can not for the life of me get my herbs to germinate from seed. I have tried growing them under lights, putting them directly in the ground, growing in containers... Any helpful tips would be greatly appreciated! I would LOVE to get some Echinacea and lavender going... I bought basil, oregano, and chamomile plants and they are all doing GREAT... its just those seeds that need the extra lovin'!

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May I suggest a heat mat? I too had the dilemma of herbs such as chamomile and lavender never growing from seed for me. This year I found an inexpensive heat mat that had EVERY chamomile and 70% of my lavender seed sprouting. Here we are 6 weeks later and all are thriving!

Who would have thought such a simple thing would make a huge difference in germination.

I bought mine through CSN and believe it was around $20-$25- it came with the heat mat and a full seedling tray set up with dome cover. After all these years of gardening, I can finally have my bounty of herbs that have been so stubborn due to my own stubborness of thinking a heat mat would not make such a difference. ;)

Best of luck!

Hi Kristin,

Growing herbs, what a journey it can be! Heat is helpful for many of them. A free source of heat available in your own home could be your gas stove top. I germinate all of my plants atop  my stove (it is off of course!) and let the pilot light do its 'heat thang"! There are other warm spots in a house, including near a fire place, or in that one corner that collects warmth away from a window.

 

Many herbs also take a LONG time to germinate. Especially those perennials. During germination they need to stay evenly moist. A good way to ensure that is to cover them, if you haven't already. Most herbs are not light dependent to germinate, so that part doesn't matter. The back of your seed packet will tell you everything you need to know. Covering with saran wrap or plastic bag helps retain that moisture.

 

Many people will buy lavender starts because they take so long. And Echinacea likes to go through a cold-stratification process, but I'm not totally convinced that is necessary. Buying seed from reputable companies is also highly recommended! Horizong Herbs has some of the BEST herb seed available. www.horizonherbs.com and you can also buy seedlings from them and have them shipped right to your door. Too cool!

 

Good growing to you~

Kristie

Hey thanks yall!

 

I will give our heat mat a try. We a lot of our garden veggies under the lights with a heat mat. Last year I tried started the parsely and echinacea that way, but got nothing. The thing is, I live in SC where it is pretty hot already, most days in the upper 80's So I thought it would be perfect for them :( hehe
Unfortunately we do not have a gas stove- but I was thinking of doing a germination test on top our fridge just to see if the seeds I have are even germinating. I got two packs when we ordered our seeds for the season from Gurneys.

Kristie- Can you tell me more about the cold-stratification process? I may give that a try...

One day, I will have a bountiful herb garden ;) hehe  If at first you don't succeed, Try Try again! Keep the tips coming!!

Hi Kristin,

 

You can easily do a germination test on your own. Here is a link with easy tips: http://www.ehow.com/how_5639489_seed-germination-test.html

 

Re: cold stratification, think about what Mother Nature does. In the fall, plants go to seed and the seed drops. Then over the winter they lay there, cold and in many places covered in snow, etc.  Spring comes, the ground thaws, and the ground warms up along with the seeds. It is a natural cold/warm process. Well, you can do this at home and 'force' the cold-stratification by mimicking nature. Here is a good link on cold stratification: http://www.seedstrust.com/st/bro/herb.html

This is also a great company to get high quality seed --with good germination rates.

 

For whatever it is worth, I have been growing herbs/food from seed for a while now. And last year I couldn't get calendula to germinate for the LIFE OF ME! And let me tell you, it is supposed to be incredibly easy to germinate. Like, toss it on the ground, up comes a plant, easy to germinate. Through that entire journey I learned a ton about myself. I feel that there was MUCH more going on than 'the seeds won't germinate'. I feel that the plants are often mirroring back to us, and in this particular instance, I was trying to germinate and grow one of the most healing plants on this earth during a time I was amiss with my own healing. I wasn't taking very good care of myself, yet here I was trying to germinate and grow medicine for 'other' people. Who needed to heal again? Right, me. And Calendula wasn't letting me get away with dirt!  It was a HUGE opportunity for me to gaze inward.

 

So, point being, there may be fundamental seed starting tricks you could be employing. But it sounds like heat, moisture, and awareness are within your tool box! Definitely consider purchasing good quality seed that is open-pollinated and from a reputable source. Gurney's tends to not be one on my list. And maybe there is more these plants are sharing with you. Yay! Very exciting.

 

Kristie

Wow Kristie... You know that is so interesting to think about- I am kind of battling a little internal thing right now and it all started during the herbs wont germinate debacle! I have been singing to them and talking to them, and to no avail... nothing... but now looking inward... wow that is just crazy! Maybe I need to look a little further.... Mother nature sure takes care of us, in more ways than we can even begin to understand....

 

Also I am going to check out Seedtrust... and see about this whole cold stratification thing.. haha

Thanks again for all your help!

 

Kristie Nackord said:

Hi Kristin,

 

You can easily do a germination test on your own. Here is a link with easy tips: http://www.ehow.com/how_5639489_seed-germination-test.html

 

Re: cold stratification, think about what Mother Nature does. In the fall, plants go to seed and the seed drops. Then over the winter they lay there, cold and in many places covered in snow, etc.  Spring comes, the ground thaws, and the ground warms up along with the seeds. It is a natural cold/warm process. Well, you can do this at home and 'force' the cold-stratification by mimicking nature. Here is a good link on cold stratification: http://www.seedstrust.com/st/bro/herb.html

This is also a great company to get high quality seed --with good germination rates.

 

For whatever it is worth, I have been growing herbs/food from seed for a while now. And last year I couldn't get calendula to germinate for the LIFE OF ME! And let me tell you, it is supposed to be incredibly easy to germinate. Like, toss it on the ground, up comes a plant, easy to germinate. Through that entire journey I learned a ton about myself. I feel that there was MUCH more going on than 'the seeds won't germinate'. I feel that the plants are often mirroring back to us, and in this particular instance, I was trying to germinate and grow one of the most healing plants on this earth during a time I was amiss with my own healing. I wasn't taking very good care of myself, yet here I was trying to germinate and grow medicine for 'other' people. Who needed to heal again? Right, me. And Calendula wasn't letting me get away with dirt!  It was a HUGE opportunity for me to gaze inward.

 

So, point being, there may be fundamental seed starting tricks you could be employing. But it sounds like heat, moisture, and awareness are within your tool box! Definitely consider purchasing good quality seed that is open-pollinated and from a reputable source. Gurney's tends to not be one on my list. And maybe there is more these plants are sharing with you. Yay! Very exciting.

 

Kristie

I've found that cuttings generally do better for perennials than seeds. Faster, too! For oregano, chamomile, and mint, just dig up some of the plant with the root and transplant in a new location. I have tried growing cuttings of lavender, rosemary, and sage but had only medium success because I'm usually so busy with other gardening stuff that I forget to monitor the delicate cuttings.

 

A woman once told me she pots her herb cuttings in soda bottle terrariums: cut the bottle in half and fill with soil. Moisten soil. Put in cutting. Then put the top half of the bottle back on to hold in some of the moisture. You will only have to water once a week or so. A fun experiment to try!

 

And a tutorial from ehow: http://www.ehow.com/how_4845798_grow-lavender-cuttings.html

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