Post Image: Spring Fever & Herbs update
  • Sylvia Colles
  • 26 Apr 2019
  • Herb Garden

Spring Fever & Herbs update

Still suffering from spring fever – Still starting seeds.

Today it was time to plant the seeds that need to be started 4-6 weeks before the first expected frost-free date.  Nepatella (Calamintha nepeta) is a culinary herb.  Also known as calaminta, the plant's green leaves have a strong, distinctive flavor that's described as a cross between mint and oregano.  All the new seeds packed for 2019 except for the ones that need to be sown directly in the garden have now been planted. The new seeds are from Pinetree Garden Seeds which is a great source for garden seeds.  Great prices and good germination results when the instructions on the packets are followed. 

I also started more old seeds.  Rue (Ruta graveloens) was packed for 2016, so it may or may not germinate.  It was once used as a medicinal herb.  A fun bit of info, the shape of the leaves is said to be the inspiration for the design of the suit of clubs in cards. 

The foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) seeds were also from 2016.  Foxglove was the original source of digitalis used to treat weak hearts.  Another fun bit of info, folklore tells that the name, foxglove, came from the practice of foxes putting the flowers on their paws so that they could sneak up on fairies.   

Symptoms of spring fever are improving. Today, I hardened my heart and threw away the seeds that were 10 years old.  It’s not that I didn’t want to plant them just to see what would happen.  There just isn’t any more room on the two seed starting heat pads, and difficult decisions sometimes need to be made.

Update 4/26/2019:  Damping Off Worries

Now that the seedlings are up and spending 10 hours each day under the light, it’s time to worry about damping off.  This fungal disease that attacks seedlings leaving them dying at the soil level and just flopping over in surrender. It’s caused by a handful of fungal diseases, including several root rots (Pythium, Phytophthora) and molds, (Scleractinia or white mold, Botrytis or gray mold). I brew a weak concentration of chamomile tea using commercial tea bags that contain only chamomile. Chamomile has so many valuable properties among which it that it is an antifungal. Spraying the seedlings every two or three days can help prevent damping off.  Once the disease is noticed, it’s too late! 

There will be so many plants to go in the garden.  There must be well over 100 little foxglove seedlings and lots and lots of marjoram and bush basil.  Not all of this will be planted in the garden, but it’s still a huge task. Volunteer help would be wonderful.  You can learn about the various herbs in the garden, hear stories about their historical uses and the myths associated with them while you benefit from working in the herb garden.  Let them know at Woldumar if you can volunteer some time.  There will be plenty of plants to adopt for your own garden.

Content provided with permission by Sylvia Colles. Questions for Sylvia (about the garden) may be relayed by contacting; emails can be readily forwarded to her.

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