Growing herbs from seeds is not much different than growing vegetables, with two big exceptions. Many herbs take much longer to germinate and have lower germination rates than vegetables. Patience is essential when growing herbs! It is not unusual for seed to take two to four weeks to germinate, although some herbs are much faster.
For most herbs, a germination temperature of 70°F is optimal. If you keep your thermostat lower, you should invest in a heat mat to start your seeds. Also, some herb seeds should not be covered with soil because they need light to germinate. With those herbs, which are identified below, you should simply press the seed into moist seed-starting mix, then keep the seed and soil moist by misting often, and covering with a plastic lid, a piece or row cover, or a think layer of vermiculite.
A few herbs need to be chilled before they will germinate. The best success is usually achieved by sowing the seeds in moist planting mix, putting the container in a plastic bag, and storing it in the refrigerator at about 40 degrees F for two to three weeks. If you don’t have space in the refrigerator, you can mix the seeds into moist vermiculite or seed starting mix in a zip-lock bag and put it in the refrigerator.
The table below shows recommended practices for starting the herb seeds that we sell at Seeds from Italy:
You can also see the PDF version of these instructions here.