Someone had requested a list of herbs that I've started from seed indoors in mid-February, so here it is. So far, I've planted flats of rosemary, lavender, sage, thyme, mint, lemon balm, basil, chamomile, bergamot, oregano, hyssop which will all be growing under lights until they are strong enough to head out to our unheated greenhouse in early April. I think I may have overdone the herbs this year, and hope by the time we transplant all of them into larger containers, that we still have enough space for our hordes of tomatoes and other vegetables...ahh, the bane of the urban farmer, never enough growing space to get all the starts going.
I also have some rosehips saved from two massive wild rose bushes that came up as volunteer plants in our yard, and I hope to germinate a few of these as well. I was so pleased to see wild rose finding ideal soil conditions here and just choosing to root and grow, as rosehips are such a rich source of vitamin C when made into a tea during the winter months. What a fortunate resource to have right here on site! It amazes me how seeds know their time and place to germinate - the same happened with a small patch of red trillium, as well as bloodroot, which just came up unexpectedly and unannounced, in a woodland area of our yard. Beautiful, and auspicious!
Back to herbs for this year - parsley, dill, coriander, fennel, and calendula don't need the long germination period, and will be started from seed later in March, as well more varieties of basil (lemon, thai, purple), and some flowers that can be transplanted (e.g. marigolds, lupines). Most of the flowers I grow (for cut flowers) are just direct seeded (e.g. sunflowers, cosmos, zinnias, snapdragons). I already have loads of echinacea, black-eyed susan/rudbeckia, hollyhocks, red & white yarrow, New England asters, some sweet william, baby's breath, and shasta daisies (and of course goldenrod, and our sweet old-fashioned lilac bush, plus enough forsythia around the neighbourhood to glean bouquets from in the spring!) in our yard, which continue to come up abundantly each year and are beautiful as cut flowers. I love flowers, but have not focussed on them too much in the past because many of these tend not to be perennial or native. However, flower bouquets are so lovely in the house and for our B&B rooms, and who is to say annual sunflowers can't be mixed with perennial wild lupines anyway?
I'll be planting successive rounds of more genovese basil so that I have a constant crop for fresh pesto throughout the growing season. One new herb I'm planning to try growing fenugreek this year, though it will surely just be an annual in our cold climate.
I placed my annual herb order from Richters Herbs last week. This year it included a flat of alpine strawberries that fruit all season long, Russian sage, white sage, stevia (to use an herbal sugar replacement), lemongrass, and some other medicinal herbs which I don't have seeds for starting myself.