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Seed Library : Herbs

Seed Library is free and open to all MCLA students, faculty, and staff. Listed are the types of seeds and number of packets available. Please request a maximum of 10 packets. To request, fill out the form and we will mail the seeds to you!

Basil (Genovese)

Cilantro (Santo)

 
 
availability: 7 packets
approx. 10 seeds/packet
 
Latin Name: Coriandrum sativum
 
Strongly aromatic and flavorful, with a flat, parley-like leaf, and round seeds. Both seed (coriander) and leaves (cilantro) are used in numerous cuisines from around the world.
Planting tips: Cilantro is an easy-to-grow annual and is tolerant of cool conditions. Direct seed as soon as danger of hard frost ha passed. Transplants can be stared 4-6 weeks before planting date. Seed spring  into winter for a continuous supply.
 
55 days to maturity.
 
Open-pollinated, organic

Dill (Greensleeves)

Lavender

Availability: 14 packets. 20 seeds/packet

Lavender may be grown from seed sown early indoors and transplanted outside after frost, or planted as a potted plant.

Sowing Seed Indoors:

  • Sow lavender seeds indoors 6-10 weeks before the last frost in spring using a seed starting kit.
  • Sow seeds ¼ inches deep in seed-starting formula in a south facing window or under grow lights until seedlings emerge.
  • Keep the soil moist at 70-80 degrees F
  • Seedlings emerge in 14-28 days
  • As soon as seedlings emerge, provide plenty of light on a sunny windowsill or grow seedlings 3-4 inches beneath fluorescent plant lights turned on 16 hours per day, off for 8 hours at night. Raise the lights as the plants grow taller. Incandescent bulbs will not work for this process because they will get too hot. Most plants require a dark period to grow, do not leave lights on for 24 hours.
  • Seedlings do not need much fertilizer, feed when they are 3-4 weeks old using a starter solution (half strength of a complete indoor houseplant food) according to manufacturer’s directions.
  • Before planting in the garden, seedling plants need to be “hardened off”. Accustom young plants to outdoor conditions by moving them to a sheltered place outside for a week. Be sure to protect them from wind and hot sun at first. If frost threatens at night, cover or bring containers indoors, then take them out again in the morning. This hardening off process toughens the plant’s cell structure and reduces transplant shock and scalding.

Planting in the Garden:

  • Select a location in full sun with rich, well drained, moist organic soil.
  • Prepare the bed by turning the soil under to a depth of 8 inches. Level with a rake to remove clumps of grass and stones.
  • Dig a hole for each plant large enough to amply accommodate the root ball.
  • Carefully remove the plant from its pot and gently loosen the root ball with your hands to encourage good root development.
  • Set the plants 12 inches apart.
  • Place the top of the root ball even with the level of the surrounding soil. Fill with soil to the top of the root ball. Press soil down firmly with your hand.
  • Use the plant tag as a location marker.
  • Thoroughly water and apply a light mulch layer on top of the soil (1-2 inches) to conserve water and reduce weeds.
  • Keep weeds under control during the growing season. Weeds compete with plants for water, space and nutrients, so control them by either cultivating often or use a mulch to prevent their seeds from germinating. 
  • Mulches also help retain soil moisture and maintain even soil temperatures. For herbs, an organic mulch of aged bark or shredded leaves lends a natural look to the bed and will improve the soil as it breaks down in time. Always keep mulches off a plant’s stems to prevent possible rot.
  • Keep plants well-watered during the growing season, especially during dry spells. Plants need about 1 inch of rain per week during the growing season. Use a rain gauge to check to see if you need to add water. It’s best to water with a drip or trickle system that delivers water at low pressure at the soil level. If you water with overhead sprinklers, water early in the day so the foliage has time to dry off before evening, to minimize disease problems. Keep the soil moist but not saturated.
  • Monitor for pests and diseases. Check with your local Cooperative Extension Service for pest controls recommended for your area.
  • Lavender leaves and flowers are valued for their fragrance. Use them fresh or dried to make a soothing tea; add dried parts to potpourris.
  • Harvest when the flower color is the most brilliant and the scent is the strongest. Harvest in the morning when the plant is dry. Cut at the base of the flower stem just above the leaves. Gather stems into a bunch and rubber band together and hand upside down in a warm dry location out of direct sunlight. Allow to dry for 2-4 weeks.
  • Either keep the flowers whole or brush the flowers off to make sachets.

Parsley (Italian Flat Leaf)

Saint John's Wort

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availability 9 packets

approx. 19 seeds/packet

 

Latin Name: Hypericum perforatum

Short-lived herbaceous perennial. Plant prefers full sun and regular garden soil, sandy or poor soil. Sow in spring. Mix tiny seed with sand and sow on surface, directly in the garden or in flats. Press seed into soil surface and keep evenly moist and in bright light until germ, which takes a week, sometimes more. Allow tiny seedlings to size up, then thin or transplant 1 to 2 feet apart. Plant creeps horizontally in the first year and rises to flower in the early summer of the second year. 

Saint John's Wort may have medicinal qualities, including relieving symptoms of depression. 

 

Open-pollinated, organic

Thyme