April is an excellent month to sow perennial herb seeds like Rosemary, Oregano, Sage and Thyme. A pot of herbs growing by your kitchen door will mean you will be just a couple of snips away from a bunch of fresh home-grown flavoursome leaves that will enhance meal times for years to come!
Here are 12 of our favourite perennial herbs that can be sown in April through to May and will return year after year with very little effort!
Thyme English Winter
Thyme Purple Creeping
Damping Off’ is a soil dwelling fungal disease that occurs in cool wet, poorly ventilated conditions. It can prevent seeds from germinating and cause seedlings to collapse & topple over as the base of the stem withers. Sometimes a fine cotton wool thread like appearance can be seen on the surface of the compost/soil.
To help prevent it occurring, use quality sterile seed sowing medium (compost/soil), use clean pots/trays, ensure the medium is not waterlogged or overwatered, sow seeds thinly to avoid overcrowded seedlings and have good ventilation as this reduces humidity which the disease loves.
If ‘damping off’ occurs remove infected seedlings immediately and you might just be able to salvage a few healthier seedlings by referring to the tips above.
Lemongrass is easier to grow than you may think. It's surprising that something as exotic as lemongrass can be grown in the UK, but this oriental flavoursome herb can do really well with a bit of warmth and a little attention.
Lemongrass seeds will require a heated propagator to get them germinating but once established this tender perennial can be kept outside during summer.
- Sow seeds (February to May) thinly on top of compost, in a seed tray & lightly tamp down to ensure good seed to soil contact. Do not cover seeds with compost.
- Place seed tray in a water tray to water from the bottom, as seeds will be displaced if watered from above.
- Place seed tray in a heated propagator and keep at 20°C. Germination is slow and can take between 15-25 days.
- When seedlings large enough to handle, 'prick out' into small pots and then 'pot on' into final pot when root system is well established.
- When risk of frost has passed and after a week of 'hardening off' move outside. Or keep in an unheated greenhouse but don't allow to get too hot!
- To harvest Lemongrass just carefully pull & lightly twist the stem to harvest the fleshy stem that is bound in a harder papery bark that is easily peeled away.
Lemongrass is a tender perennial and may make it through winter but must be moved indoors when temperatures fall below 8°C if it is to have any success in overwintering.
Home grown Lemongrass can be used fresh in Thai curries, stir-fries, herbal teas or popped into pot-pourris to perfume the house. A lovely variety that smells and tastes great!
See our Oriental & Herb Spice Collection Pack which contains 5 grow your own herbs & spices to make Thai inspired dishes & includes Lemongrass.
One crop at Sow Seeds we can’t do without is Chillies and last year was our best ever season. It may seem like a long time and a lot of care is required for such a short season crop but with a bit of planning chillies can be picked from July to November. Chillies can be used all year round, either fresh, frozen, dried, ground, made into colourful ristas, chilli jams & jellies and we have even made 'Firewater' with our own Chillies infused in Vodka. Growing your own makes your food and drink so much more inventive.
Sowing, growing and eating chillies has become such a passion and the choice of varieties available to the home grower is so extensive. As foodies and gardeners alike we love to experiment and cook up authentic cuisine from all over the world and a bag of generic red or green supermarket chillies is now not enough. Our tastes have become more discerning and we now realise that chillies are not just about the heat but they can also have defining sweet, smoky or fruity flavours.
We currently have over 65 different varieties of Chilli Seeds and have sourced the following 10 new ones for this coming season (even Paddington Bear might have enjoyed some of our new chillies that have originated from ‘deepest darkest Peru’ on his Marmalade Sandwiches)! Varieties like Aji Panca, Aji Amarillo or Aji Peruvian are key ingredients used in Peruvian cooking.
Last year was a real gardening success the weather was glorious and our plots were bursting with healthy bountiful harvests. However wet and cold January is there is plenty to look forward to and for the gardening calendar it starts with planning for the coming year. We recommend choosing varieties you just couldn’t do without and perhaps try some new ones to push your gardening skills or taste buds.
And if you can’t wait to get sowing there are a few veg varieties that can be sown in January. So why not get a head start, clean out the heated propagator and sow some Superhot Chilli Seeds, they will benefit from an early sowing as they need a long season to fruit. Or perhaps sow Cauliflower All Year Round, Onion Bugatti or Red Baron now into modules and keep in an unheated greenhouse and they will be ready to plant out in spring
See our section for other varieties that are suitable for a January sowing…