Annual Herb Seed Collection
Growing Basil: Basil must have warm conditions, and prefers moist, rich, well-drained soil with pH of 6. Seedlings are slow-growing and delicate. Sow seed, 1/8" deep, in summer or indoors in late spring. When the seedlings appear, thin the plants to 1 foot apart. Susceptible to frost and cold. Water at mid-day not in the evening; avoid overwatering seedlings to prevent mildew. Harvest leaves every week, pinching terminal buds first to stimulate branching and encourage bushiness. Harvest should be in early autumn before the leaves turn limp and yellow. Cut stalks for drying before the plant comes into flower. Do not hang in bunches, as the leaves will dry too slowly and could mold. Basil is highly subject to heat and drought stress, and will “go to seed” practically overnight. Pinch off any developing seedheads regularly.
Growing Cilantro: Requires well-drained, well-cultivated soil in full sun to part shade. Sow seeds directly in the garden ½” deep and 5-8” apart after all danger of frost has passed and cover lightly. Thin plants as necessary when 1-2” high. Harvest coriander as soon as the leaves and flowers turn brown and before the seeds begin to scatter. Cut the whole plant and hang to dry. Seeds should be dried and then stored in a sealed jar. Dried leaves store poorly, but can be frozen.
Growing Dill: Plant early in the spring after the danger of frost. Seeds are best sown where they will stay, as dill does not transplant well. Plant ¼" deep about 10" apart in a prepared bed. A protected location is best to ensure that the tall stalks are not destroyed by the wind. Enjoys full sun, fairly rich, well-drained, moist soil. Snip the leaves as needed during the summer and harvest the top half of the plant when the seedheads are beige. Dry in bunches or a bag. Store dried foliage and seeds in an air-tight container. Fresh leaves can be refrigerated for 1 week. Dillweed is easiest to handle when frozen on its stem. When needed, snip some off and return the rest to the freezer.
Growing Parsley: Parsley is a biennial, and will overwinter, but it is mostly grown as an annual. Can be slow in germination, doing best in warm, moist soil (60-85°F), with pH of 5.0 to 7.0. Soaking seed in lukewarm water for several hours before sowing is beneficial; some advocate use of boiling water, or freezing seed for a short time. Sow indoors, from late winter to early spring and outdoors in early spring, before last frost. Ensure constant moisture until after germination (may take 3 weeks or more). Thin or space plants at 6 inches apart. Harvest as needed, beginning with large, outer leaves.
Growing Summer Savoury: Sow seeds directly into the ground 1/8" deep or just scatter on top of the soil. Prefers full sun and average soil. Thin to 10" apart in rows 16-18" apart. Successive sowings may be made in the spring until mid-summer. Summer savory germinates quickly, and often self-seeds. Does not transplant well. Cut as soon as the plants get about 6" tall and before flowering. Hang in bundles upside down in an airy place. When dry, remove leaves from the stems. Store in airtight containers.