Growing Classroom Herbs

By Eve Pranis

Many herb plants can be easily grown in a classroom light garden or windowsill, started from seeds, cuttings, or plants. Local nurseries, friends' gardens, and catalogs are good sources of seeds and plants. Here are a few tips to get you started.

From seeds. Plant herb seeds in the same soilless mix you use for other indoor plants, or in a mixture of 1/3 sand, 1/3 peat moss, and 1/3 soil. Most herb seeds are small and should be planted no more than 1/4 inch deep in moist mix, or sprinkled on the top and covered lightly with mix. Young children can mix tiny seeds with a bit of sand to make them easier to sow. Mist the soil and cover the containers with wax paper or plastic wrap to keep seeds moist until they germinate.

To give most herb plants room to grow to maturity, thin or transplant the seed-lings to one per 4-inch container.

From plants or cuttings. You can purchase many herbs from nurseries as young plants, or dig them in the spring from new shoots emerging from mature plants outdoors. Some herbs are quicker to start from cuttings than from seeds. To do this, snip healthy stems 3 to 4 inches from the growing tip. Remove leaves from the lower half of the cutting, and plant the cutting in a soilless mix. Water gently and cover the container with a plastic bag until new top growth appears.

Indoor Herb Growing Chart

Herb / Days to germination / How to start it

basil / 5 - 10 / seeds/plants

catnip / 4 / seeds/plants

caraway / 14+ / seeds

chives / 7 / seeds/divide plants

chamomile / 7 / seeds/plants

coriander / 9 / seeds

cress / 7 / seeds

dill / 5 / seeds

fennel/ 6 / seeds

garlic / --- / plant cloves

lavender / --- / plants

lemon balm / 7 / seeds/plants

mints /--- / plants/runners

nasturtium / 5/ seeds

oregano / 30+ / cutting/plants/seeds

parsley / 20+ / seeds(presoak)/plants

rosemary / 20+ / seeds/plants

rue / 7 / seeds/plants

sage / 28+ / seeds/plants

summer savory/ 5 / seeds/plants

tarragon / --- / plants

thyme / 20+ / plants/seeds

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