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Spring has Sprung ... and things are getting seedy on The Herb Boat

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Well, spring has sprung … though it doesn’t feel very spring like here in Lancashire. However, seeing all the new shoots, blossom and early daffodils means my thoughts have turned to planting seeds for the coming year. The Herb Boat roof doesn’t allow for much gardening, but it is amazing what you can achieve in a few pots and containers.

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Herb and spice plants make a great choice for a small garden or boat roof. Some, like Rosemary and Winter Savory, are hardy perennial evergreens. They stay green all year and will survive many years. Others, like Calendula (Pot Marigold), Borage and Nasturtiums provide a long season of colourful flowers, loved by bees, which can be eaten, made into teas or, in the case of Borage flowers, added to your Pimm’s on a hot summer’s day,

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Whilst complete self-sufficiency can’t be achieved in a small space, sowing a few lettuce seeds every few weeks can provide you with a constant supply of baby leaves, in a wide range of textures, colours and tastes. Banish the slimy bags of salad leaves forever and savour the taste of freshly picked leaves.

People often ask me why the herb plants they buy from supermarkets don't survive long or outside. These pots of herbs are sown very close together, in luxuriously warm poly-tunnels, with optimum light and water, to provide a short lived quick dense crop. They struggle to cope with outdoor conditions and there are often hundreds of small plants in the pot so the competition for nutrients is too much. you can sometimes seperate a supermarket pot of basil or parsley to make several plants, and pot them on into larger pots. It is better to buy from a nursery, or, ideally ME if you want an outdoor plant.

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You can use almost anything to sow your seeds in. Some dislike being transplanted, like Coriander, and can be sown thinly, straight into pots, old tins or yoghurt pots. Other can be sown into seed trays, or recycle the plastic containers that supermarket veg like mushrooms come in. Just make sure there are some drainage holes and you use a good compost.

If you are sowing indoors, choose a spot free from draughts and in good light. Windowsill seedlings should be turned regularly to stop them becoming leggy. Some seeds need a particular temperature to germinate.Once all danger of frost has passed you can plant out, or sow some varieties outside and soon you will be enjoying the fruits of your labour. 

Herb Boat seeds come with instructions, and there is, of course, a wealth of information on the internet. Check my stock list for available varieties. I have limited stocks for now, while I see how popular they are, but hope to expand the range over time. Also keep an eye open for where I will be trading for  a selection of herb plants to buy. Growing your own, even if it is a simple pot of Chives, which can be chopped into scrambled eggs, salads, new potatoes, is enjoyable and therapeutic




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