How To Grow Chamomile In Early Spring

Chamomile boasts of pretty flowers which you can dry and use to make relaxing herbal teas that have medicinal properties. Additionally, you can use the dried flowers to make infused oils. The good thing about this herb is that you can quickly reap its benefits as it is easy to plant. You can opt to have it in your outdoors or indoors. Most of the work involved is the aftercare, where you need to protect the plant from the elements.

What happens if you want to enjoy this plant in spring and the warm months after that? Well, knowing how to grow chamomile in early spring hinges on making use of your wooden shed. Here’s how to go about this:

Indoor Planting

Starting this herb indoors allows you to plant it during any season, as you can alter the conditions in which it grows. In this case, the aim is to sow the seeds towards the start of spring. As such, you will need to start the seeds towards the end of winter. Determine when the last frost will hit your area and start your seeds before that time. You can check with a local expert who can help you with the timing. In many areas, this timing will fall somewhere towards the start of March or the end of February. It will depend on your local forecast, and thus an understanding of your weather patterns will help significantly in this regard.

You will need a seeding tray for this purpose. You can get this from a garden center or other such kind of store in your area. The good thing about a seeding tray is that it has many small containers and it will allow you to start many plantings at a time.

You need to get a soil mix that works for sowing seeds, and you can engage a local expert on this matter. There are many sources of the same ranging from online sellers to your local gardening center. Once you get a brand with which you are comfortable, proceed to fill the containers up to ¾ of their heights. Follow up with watering the soil such that you make it damp. The soil mix should not be wet as this encourages the rotting of seeds which is detrimental to their germination.

Take the chamomile seeds from the packet and place them in a dry bowl. Using your fingers, place about six seeds in each container. It should be possible to do this by scraping off the seeds using your nail, ensuring that you do not put too many in one pot. Take some of the soil mix and use it to lightly cover the seeds such that you can notice them under the thin layer.

Watering the seeds should be easy, and you can do it using a spray bottle. You need to ensure that the soil layer remains on the seeds. As such, you cannot water the seeds with a jug or other vessel that would otherwise disturb the setup. You should continue with the misting as often as is necessary, averaging about once each day. As you do so, aim for moistening the soil but not wetting it. Where you feel that the soil mix does not retain enough moisture, you can use a plastic wrap on the surface. Ensure that the plastic is loose such that there is an allowance for the circulation of air. Monitor the appearance of the soil and where you notice a shift to a green hue, be sure to get rid of the covering as the color change indicates the presence of algae.

Temperature Adjustments

The good thing about planting your seeds in a wooden shed is that you can alter the conditions, with one key element being the temperature. The ideal temperature for the seeds to thrive is about eighteen to twenty-nine degrees Celsius during the day. Thus, you should move the pots to a sunny spot during the day where the temperature will be high. When night comes, lower the temperatures. This frequent change of the temperatures will imitate what the plants would go through if they were in the outdoors.

When the seedlings are two inches high, you need to thin them out. In most cases, you find that you pluck out the weaker seedlings, leaving the strong one. In this scenario, you should not pull them out by the roots as this will disturb the roots of the healthy plant. Instead, you should cut off the weak plants at ground level. They will cease growing and taking up nutrients from the soil mix, thus strengthening the remaining plant.

You can now start preparing the plants for transplanting in what is known as hardening off of the seedlings. This process allows them to be strong enough for when you transfer them to the outdoors permanently. The first step involves placing the plants in a covered area in the outdoors for a few hours. Do this daily for two weeks as you work toward increasing their exposure.

The hardening off only works where you put in measures to protect the young plants. Suppose the wind is strong or there is a drop in temperature, you should move the seedlings to the indoors where they are safe. However, where the weather is slightly out of hand, you can let them stay in the covered area as this will prepare them for the transplanting.

Offer them less shade as time goes by to enable them to get used to exposure to the sun. As you do this, ensure that the plants have adequate moisture by watering them as often as is necessary. Throughout the hardening off process, ensure that the plants remain indoors at night as the cold temperatures may be too much for them at this stage.

Once the last frost is over, you can transplant the seedlings. Usually, this will be about six weeks after you planted the seeds. Before transferring them to the ground, ensure that you water them an hour before their removal. Also, ensure that the holes are big enough to accommodate the roots such that the base of the leaves is at the ground level.

Aftercare

Watering should take place until you notice flowers on your plants. At this point, you can reduce the watering as the plants have established themselves. It is essential to get rid of weeds as they can affect the uptake of nutrients by the herbs. As winter approaches, ensure that you protect the plants from the harsh conditions by using boughs.

Harvesting

The plants should mature about two weeks after you transplant them and once the flowers bloom, you can harvest them throughout summer.

All the best!

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