Celebrate the culture of agriculture & share skills (Growing! Cooking! Eating!)

Starting rosemary seeds and cheap grow-light set-up

Cross-post from my blog, domestic efforts:


This is my first year growing seeds indoors. I was tempted to begin this new venture with an elaborate set-up but decided to starts slowly and cheaply. That way, if my plants fail, I won't be quite so upset.

I purchased a shop light and 2 fluorescent light tubes (1 warm and 1 cool). I also bought adjustable shelving, leaving the top of the unit shelf-less so the shop light could be perched there, since I didn't feel like hanging it from the ceiling. That's it! Now let's hope it's warm enough in my basement. I know I could buy a heated pad for the seedlings, but I want to try a minimal set-up first and adjust as needed next year.

It's still too early to start most of my seeds. However, I plan to grow several herbs indoors, so I decided to start with the notoriously slow-germinating ones: rosemary and sage. My sage has not yet germinated, and I've read that sometimes it takes well over a month.

As for rosemary, most sources (online and print) suggest that you start it from cuttings. I nevertheless decided to try growing it from seed, and purchased a packet of Franchi seeds (rosemary seeds are not that easy to find). Since I don't have my seed starting mix yet, I filled three pots with organic potting soil. I planted several seeds in each pot, which I loosely covered with plastic to keep everything moist. The seeds went in on Jan. 16, and last night (13 days later), I noticed the first signs of life -- all three of my pots had one germinated seed! Today, I moved them into my grow light set-up, which is pretty sparse at this early stage. Here's hoping they make it!

(I used a box to raise the tray of pots closer to the light.)

(Signs of rosemary life!)

Views: 274

Comment by Karen Heard on January 30, 2011 at 6:17pm

Great blog! I've been toying with the idea of grow lights too, at this time of year my house is completely in shade. I've cobbled a propagator on my sitting room windowsill with herbs and chilli seed so far. The thyme is showing signs of life, still waiting for the 2 types of parsley, basil and chilli's.

What else do you plan to try?

Comment by Jenni on January 31, 2011 at 11:02am

Indoors, I'm also starting a bunch more herbs, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant.  I'm also direct sowing a lot of veggies after the last frost date.


Good luck with your plants!

Comment by Larry Snyder on February 2, 2011 at 10:36am
Don't know your area but I have Rosmary growing in my yard. It gets down to 10 degrees here with no sign of damage to my rosemary. I actually pruned it back 1st of january and have new growth.


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