The pandemic has created many households with their intension of keeping everyone within as healthy as possible. Incorporating herbs can boost your immunity and also moral, so this season, I looked for some easy plants to start growing. With 2 kids and 30 farm animals, time is of the essence, I wanted medicinal herbs that would germinate quickly without constant care while giving the most medicinal benefits.
10 quick germinating herbs include basil, sage, oregano, fenugreek, fennel, thyme, chamomile, borage, mint and lemon balm. All these herbs easily germinate in under 2 weeks with the exception of sage which can take up to 20. Basil is the fastest germination time in 4-10 days with oregano, borage, fenugreek and fennel germinating at an average of 7-10 days. Thyme and sage germination rate is at 7-20 days and chamomile, lemon balm and mint at 10-14. All these herbs can easily brighten your home and health within a few weeks time while imparting a magnitude of benefits everyone can utilize.
|HERB||DAYS TO GERMINATE||PLANTING DEPT||SOIL TEMPERATURE|
|Lemon Balm||10-14||1/4 inch||70|
Quick to germinate and easy to grow, these herbs can sprout in a variety of different mediums as long as they stay moist and warm. Some people take the route of using a paper towel within a plastic bag to ensure the seeds stay wet; however the I find it easiest to place them in seedling trays filled with starting medium a top a cookie sheet that is filled with water. This keeps the soil the perfect consistency without the need for daily watering and also eliminates the plastic bag and the need to replant within the first few weeks.
Worried about space or wanting to cultivate all winter long? Basil grows makes for a wonderful container plant and since it prefers well drained soil, no need to daily water. Once established, 1 inch of water every week should do the trick. Basil also requires little to no fertilization and it’s uses in culinary items make this a plant easy to incorporate into everyone’s lifestyle.
Fennel seeds benefit from soaking a day or two before sowing to ensure germination. Fennel prefers a more moist growing environment so be sure to check regularly. Transplant fennel outdoors 2-5 before the average last date in spring when the danger of a hard frost is over.
Borage can be sown outdoors 4 weeks before the last frost or can also just as easily be grown in a pot indoors. Keep the pot filled with rich, well drained slightly acidic soil an water whenever it feels dry to the touch.
Fenugreek seeds can also be germinated a little more easily aver a soak in water for 12-24 hours. Once soaked, replant the seeds in a pot and keep under full or partial sunlight. Fenugreek is a shallow rooted plant so a container makes it a great home while also keeping it close to the kitchen.
Another great plant to grow indoors with a quick germination time is oregano; however if you choose to replant it outdoors, it will come back year after year since it is a perennial. Soak seeds for up to 24 hours prior planting. Water whenever it feels dry; but be careful not to overwater.
After soaking, thyme can be transplanted and cared for very little. A regular light pruning and watering can encourage growth throughout the year. Many varieties are drought-resistant so only water when completely dry.
Sage is a great plant to grow indoors or outdoors. If moving outdoors, sow plants 6-8 weeks before the last expected frost. Sage seeds can germinate quicker if soaked for 12-24 hours making your quick germinating even that more fast! Once sprouted water sage once or twice per week until the roots have matured which can then decrease watering to every other week.
Chamomile is one of my favorites but is also one that would be difficult to keep indoors. Transplant in a pot or in the garden anywhere after a hard frost and enjoy its aromatic and medicinal benefits throughout the year. Ensure to pick the flowers and use in fresh dried to ensure continuous growth!
Lemon Balm can be grown in a pot or in the garden. If planted outdoors and given the room, it will spread so plan carefully since it will return year after year. When growing, check the moisture every few days and water when it feels dry.
Soak mint seeds in warm water to speed up germination. Mint doesn’t transplant as well as others so take care when moving grow in the final pot. Keep soil moist but with adequate drainage. Mint is quite invasion so keep in a container or plan accordingly.
Within a few weeks you are able to take a few clippings here and there from the plants and use in tea or within an entrée. Your house and mood can be lightened with the added beauty of plants while the aromatics leave you feeling calm and collected. All your need is a little sunlight and some dirt.
Really, any potting soil can encourage growth but if you want to grow the best most potent plant, utilize a soil that contains compost, and vermiculate, peat moss, perlite, or coconut coir fiber to ensure it retains water and keeps the seedlings damp. One recipe that I’ve used in the past includes one third part sphagnum peat moss or coconut coir fiber with one third part compost. Wet the mixture then add it to your pots. Water from the bottom while germinating so that the soil stays moist but not wet.
Light requirements vary from plant to plant but all are in need of it to germinate. Keep seedlings in a window or under a light. In general, seedlings need at least 14 hours of sunlight a day. Since in winter, light is limited, you can help your plant with a small growing light. I’ve found some lights to dry out the soil a little faster to keep your eye on them while in the initial germination stage. One easy trick to get as much light as possible is to keep the seeds in a south facing window.
All in all, it will take at least a month to get your medicinal herbs up and running. However, once established, you can enjoy their bounty throughout the year and in many cases year after year. A little love with water and sun will keep them happy and help to keep you and your family healthy.