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Best Herbs for Spring

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Spring Herbs: The best herbs to direct-sow in spring

By Organic Gardening

These herbs may thrive in cooler temperatures, but some seeds, such as those of parsley, can take up to a month to germinate, especially in cold spring soils. Soaking the seeds overnight and planting in raised beds will help speed germination of direct-sown seeds.

-Parsley

Two different forms include the familiar curly parsley and the more flavorful flat-leaved Italian version, with leaves like celery and cilantro.

Sow: Direct-sow seeds or set out six- to eight-week-old transplants about a week before the last spring frost, spacing seeds or seedlings 8 to 10 inches apart.

Grow: Tolerates full sun or partial shade.

-Cilantro

The emerald leaves have a distinctive flavor that combines parsley, sage, and citrus; and its seed (coriander), which is reminiscent of citrus and spice.

Sow: Direct-sow seeds a week or two before the last spring frost and again in late summer.

Grow: Best in full sun, with some afternoon shade in hotter regions.

-Chervil

The leaves resemble parsley in appearance and taste, with delicate overtones of anise.

Sow: Sow seeds directly into the garden about three to four weeks before the last spring frost and again in late summer; thin seedlings to 6 to 9 inches apart.

Grow: Prefers part shade.

-Dill

Dill combines well with fish, mild cheeses, and vegetable dishes.

Sow: Best sown directly into the ground four to five weeks before the last spring frost; thin seedlings to 6 to 18 inches apart.

Grow: This aromatic annual thrives in full sun.

-Chives

Regular chives have a delicate onion flavor; garlic chives are milder.

Sow: Grow by seeds, transplants, or divisions, with plants spaced 8 to 12 inches apart. Sow seeds in clumps or set out six-week-old transplants about four weeks before the last spring frost; divide existing clumps every two to four years.

Grow: Likes full sun to part shade.

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