If you’re planning on growing a few herbs for your personal use this summer, the ideal way to do it is in pots. If you have a sunny spot near your kitchen, you can go out and snip the herbs whenever your recipe calls for it.

Herb seeds take quite a while to sprout, however. So thyme should be planted now, parsley and cilantro in about three weeks, oregano in four weeks, and sage in six weeks. So says the website of Allen, Sterling & Lothrop, the superb seed store in Falmouth.

These herbs are Mediterranean plants, so keep them inside until it is nice and warm out – usually the end of May or early June.

As with all potted plants, use a planting mix rather than garden soil. And if you are going to make a mixed herb garden, start the plants in small pots and transfer them to the larger pot about a week before putting it outside.

With thyme, be sure to get the culinary kind – Thymus vulgaris. Lemon thyme, Thymus citriodorus. The others are ornamental. Thyme seeds are very small, so just barely cover them with the potting mix or compost. Keep them at at least 60 degrees and in a sunny space. They should sprout in a week and be about 4 inches tall when you put them outside. Now, thyme is perennial, so you could plant it directly into your garden and leave it for years. But it would go well in a pot with the annual herbs.

Parsley is hard to sprout, so pour hot water over it and let it soak for a day or more before planting. Cilantro, oregano and sage don’t require this extra help – just barely cover the seed with potting mix. In theory, basil can be direct seeded in a Maine garden, but if you want basil earlier, plant the seed indoors in late April.

All this will give you a superbly savory summer.

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