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Growing Veg 2016/#2 – Seedlings & Herbs

Rosemary, Mint & Coriander (Cilantro) | www.myfoododyssey,com

This year I have vowed to provide more regular updates on my vegetable growing endeavours. Last year I had some great successes and took millions of photos, but was so busy actually doing it I hardly got round to writing about it. To take the pressure off, this year I will write shorter posts more frequently. Some might contain only a few words and photos, just to show you how things are progressing. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep that going, even when the growing season kicks off in earnest.

I have now planted my tomatoes, sweet peppers, chillies and cucumbers. In total I have planted 40 tomatoes, 20 peppers, 16 cucumbers and 10 chillies. This is much more than I need, but I am allowing for the fact that not all seeds will germinate and that some might not survive the hardening off process (when they are moved from my warm conservatory to the relative cool of the polytunnel.) Last year I definitely brought the seedlings outside too early and lost quite a few as a result. This year I will set up some temporary shelving in the conservatory and keep them inside for longer, then harden them gradually by initially taking them outside for just a few hours per day before eventually leaving overnight.

Cucumber Seedlings | www.myfoododyssey,com

Cucumber Seedlings. These were planted 9 days ago.

Tomato Seedlings |

Tomato Seedlings. These were planted 10 days ago. My pepper seedlings are a similar size.

As it’s still too early to start work on my outdoor plants and my greenhouse plants are chugging along nicely, I am currently focusing on herbs. Yesterday I paid a visit to the seed shop and bought the following:

Basil (Green) – Toscano
Basil (Purple) – Purple Opal
Coriander (Cilantro)

In previous years I planted my herbs in window boxes, but this presented two problems. Firstly, it provided too much at one time. Some herbs, like coriander (cilantro) can go to seed very quickly if not used regularly and so having a large supply at one time can be problematic. Secondly, it is not so easy to transplant to bigger containers as the plants themselves get larger. This year I have decided to plant my herbs in individual pots. This way, I can plant small amounts on a regular basis – perhaps once a month for quick growers like coriander. Secondly, I can repot them easily as they grow, ensuring they continue to grow. Both the rosemary and the mint in the photos actually came from supermarket kitchen pots. I find both of these very slow to grow from seed, so I bought pots and immediately repotted them into bigger pots to allow them to grow. The mint pot actually contained 10 individual plants, so I repotted these into 4 separate pots. They are thriving, and I expect to have to repot them again soon. It’s definitely more expensive than buying seeds, but it’s much quicker and more reliable. The hardest part is resisting the temptation to eat them before they have reached a decent size!

Mint Plant |

Mint Plant

Chilli Plant | www.myfoododyssey,com

My old chilli plant comes back to life

If anyone has tips on growing herbs indoors I would be very interested to hear them. I love to cook with fresh herbs but buying them can be so expensive. I really want to get to a point where I have a constant, varied supply. Also, if you’ve started planting vegetables for this year I’d love to hear how it’s going.

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Rosemary, Mint & Coriander (Cilantro) | www.myfoododyssey,com

Mint, Rosemary & Coriander (Cilantro)

22 Comments Post a comment
  1. Maureen Lyons #

    Herbs are not always so easy to grow. I am trying to grow basil for a second year now and I hope that I will succeed. I am a newbie gardener and this year I am growing tomatoes already. It will be fun but there is much to learn. Thanks for the post! Here is a helpful infographic that I am using to start my garden.

    Liked by 1 person

    March 14, 2016
    • Thanks Maureen. Basil is one I never seem to have great success with. It grows initially, but I can never get it to continue growing and stay healthy. Maybe I need to harvest the leaves more often. I shall persevere, though! Best of luck with your garden.


      March 14, 2016
  2. I fail miserably at growing herbs. Growing anything really! Even the really hardy ones like thyme and rosemary. It’s such a shame as I use so many fresh herbs. I love the row of red pots you have there.

    Liked by 1 person

    March 9, 2016
    • Thanks Donna. I’m far from being a herb expert but I’m getting better at them. One of the keys seems to be to give them plenty of room to grow. If the pot is too small they will just suffocate and die. Rosemary and thyme are really hardy, but they are constantly growing – I’ve seen people with huge rosemary bushes in their garden. I think it’s a common mistake (and I know I’ve done it) to buy herbs in pots, pop them on the windowsill and water them, thinking they’ll grow when really they’ve already outgrown the pot they’re in. Then again, some just seem to die no matter what you do!

      Liked by 1 person

      March 9, 2016
  3. I love these updates …. coriander (cillantro) is the bane of my life in France – I’ve really struggled to grow it on my balcony but I wonder if I’m not being too ambitious – perhaps this year (albeit in the US this year) I’ll take your lead and grow it in smaller pots. Thank you for the tip.

    Liked by 1 person

    March 8, 2016
    • I find it so frustrating, Osyth. It grows like wildfire initially but I can never sustain it. When I finally crack it I’ll be sure to share the secret! Let me know how your pots work out.

      Liked by 1 person

      March 8, 2016
      • I will – together we will conqueur the Coriander … 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        March 8, 2016
  4. Look how organized you are! Your pots look so beautiful in the window.

    Liked by 1 person

    March 8, 2016
    • I do love those pots. I’m so lucky that our local supermarket has been carrying them for years in various sizes, so I can keep adding to my collection as I need them. The red is so vibrant against the green leaves and the white walls and windows. It’s just about the only decor I have in that room!


      March 8, 2016
  5. looking great! what a wonderful feeling to see these babies grow.
    (I tried planting herbs, not much luck.)

    Liked by 1 person

    March 8, 2016
    • They definitely do take a bit of patience. Some grow more easily than others. I shall persevere!

      Liked by 1 person

      March 8, 2016
  6. I’d love to have a variety of herbs for my cooking. I’ve experienced the same challenges as you have. Some grow very fast, some take longer time. Either you have none, or too much at one time. Learning by doing? Right? Looking forward to more posts about your garden!

    Liked by 1 person

    March 8, 2016
    • So many sources tell you it’s “easy” to grow herbs, Maria. Just stick some seeds in compost and you’re set. I’ve never found it quite that straightforward, but I’m determined to crack it!

      Liked by 1 person

      March 8, 2016
  7. Lazy me buys the herbs ready from the shops and puts them then down in dirt in order to enjoy them long… but you are right, it is lovely to cook with fresh herbs!

    Liked by 1 person

    March 8, 2016
    • At least you plant them for a bit of longevity. I’d say most people just use them for a week or two from their original pot, which they’ve outgrown before you even buy them. That’s how those guys make their money! Some are just too hard to grow from scratch.

      Liked by 1 person

      March 8, 2016

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Growing Veg 2016/#3 – Seedlings & Herbs Update, Outside Prep Begins | My Food Odyssey
  2. Growing Veg 2016/#4: Planting Greenhouse & Veg Prep | My Food Odyssey
  3. Growing Veg 2016/#5: Outside Planting & Greenhouse Update | My Food Odyssey
  4. Growing Vegetables #7: Winding Down | My Food Odyssey
  5. Thai Chicken Curry [Recipe] | My Food Odyssey

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