Why am I bothering to germinate herb seeds in November?
Planting more herbs while still wrapping up my vegetable garden and finishing up my weeding for the season doesn’t seem to make too much sense, but I am eager to experiment and see if I will eventually be able to provide my family with fresh herbs year round. I’ve collected a few reasons for trying to grow herbs during the off season to hopefully get us all inspired to garden at least a little bit year-round!
My biggest reason to germinate some herbs is that I am curious to see how well I can grow herbs indoors.
I have an iffy track record of remembering to water my houseplants, mainly because I am always worried about water leaking out and making a mess on the floor. I finally either transplanted all my houseplants into containers that don’t leak or put an appropriate sized plate under the pot to catch any water. I was worried about overwatering and molding with this method, but it has worked great for the past couple months and I have seen some very satisfactory growth in my plants. My newfound success with this has encouraged me to try some more plants this fall.
I have also been curious to try to see if I could shape my plants a bit more.
I let my herbs grow like crazy outside, and this sometimes leads to them getting leggy, gigantic, and out of hand. I want to try to keep them a bit more tame inside by trimming them regularly, which will hopefully lead to using the herbs regularly.
I am also curious to see how well the few seeds I have left from last season will actually still germinate.
I was super excited to see so many seed packets still left in my seed storage bin, but somewhat more disappointed when I opened them up and realized that there was only like 5-10 seeds left in most of the packets. I tried to plant most of the seeds last year, but really did not have very much success in starting seeds, especially teeny tiny herb seeds that take a couple weeks to sprout. 😦 If these seeds, which were packaged for 2017, still have satisfactory germination rates then I will be much more confident about buying 2017 clearance seeds for my 2018 garden. (not that I’m planning on saving any money like that, I’m just planning on buying more seeds with the same amount of money lol.)
My next reason to try to grow some seeds now is that I want to “practice” germinating some herbs and get some trial & error in.
Preferably before it is actually time to start all my plants for spring. In the past I have tended to overdo it and plant too many seeds in early spring, only to have very poor germination rates and end up wasting a ton of seeds and time and having to redo it or buy actual plants anyway.
This year I am hoping that by starting some of my herbs ahead of time I will get some extra experience learning how much to water, how to transplant, what type of lighting system works well, etc. If I can plant in “rounds” then not only will each round be more manageable and get more attention, but they will also hopefully be more successful as time goes on.
I want to be able to start my garden from seeds this year
If I can successfully start some of the herbs I have already, then I will definitely be more confident about buying more herb seeds for the 2018 season and actually using them. Which is a good thing because I am already getting beautiful, colorful seed catalogues calling my name and begging me to start planning my next garden!
Instead of just sprinkling seeds in my rocky clay outside and hoping for the best I want to be able to give my garden the best possible start. I’m hoping to do this by germinating my seeds ahead of time & thus being able to put actual plants in the ground in the spring.
I want variety and options
I also want to be able to enjoy the additional variety that you can experiment with when planting seeds (ever notice how everyone has the same basil???) and save myself from spending a fortune on plants at nurseries.
Lastly, I want to have a fun project to do with my toddler.
She loves being out in the garden or just about anywhere with me and we are already getting a little antsy having to stay inside out of cold so much more these days. She will be thrilled to watch the little plants sprouting, not to mention how much she loves to water plants! I am also looking forward to connecting our seed starting project to some lessons on Jesus’ Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13. Though I’m not officially a homeschool mom yet because she is only two, we are always looking to incorporate fun learning opportunities into our everyday activities to help her develop a love for learning new things.
So there you have it, seven reasons why I am trying to start some herb seeds in the off season. I am currently trying a seed starting setup using a heat mat on top of my dryer. It is working very well and I will be moving them to a stand equipped with fluorescent lights in the next couple days. Check back soon for a post on tips for germinating herbs, an overview of how my system is working, and a collection of other seed starting methods I have found!