Herb and Vegetable Seed Sowing Guide

Seeds require the right conditions or they will fail to germinate or germinate at a greatly reduced rate. Several factors trigger germination including soil temperature, moisture, soaking, stratification or scarification. 

Germination is triggered by soil temperature, soil depth, moisture and some seeds require stratification which is a period of chilling prior to sowing. This table is a quick and easy guide to sowing herb and vegetable seeds.

Light: Some seeds require sunlight to germinate, which has been listed as ‘surface’. Sprinkle the seeds on the surface, but gently push them down so that they don’t disperse in the wind.

Light covering: When sowing seeds that require a light covering of soil, add some soil or potting mix to an old kitchen sieve and gently sprinkle over the seeds.

  • Stratification: A period of cold prior to sowing.
  • Scarification: Gently weakening the thick, outer shell of certain seeds.

I haven’t included when each type of seed should be sowed in this article because this varies depending on location. Some seedlings are frost tender, and should only be planted once the risk of frost has passed. For those of us in warmer climates such as Australia, we can sow seeds much earlier.

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Amaranth (Amaranthus spp.)21-2470-755 mm5-20 daysScarification
Anise (Pimpinella anisum)16-2260-713 mm7-20 daysNo
Armenian cucumber
(Cucumis melo var. flexuosus(
10-1550-6012 mm7-20 daysNo
(Cynara cardunculus var. scolymus)
15-2660-806 mm15-25 daysStratification
(Asparagus officinalis)
23-2773-825 mm2-8 weeksStratification/Soak
Basil (Ocimum basilicum)21-2370-735 mm10-14 daysNo
Beetroot (Beta vulgaris)10-2950-852.5 mm5-8 daysNo
Bergamot (Monarda didyma)15-2160-70Surface7-14 daysNo
Blue skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora)10-1550-606 mmStratification
Bok choy (Brassica rapa subsp. chinensis)4-2340-753 mm6-10 daysNo
Borage (Borago officinalis)21-2370-736 mm7-14 daysStratification
Borlotti bean (Phaseolus
50-602 cm7-10 daysStratification/scarification
Broad bean (Vicia faba)12-1853-655 cm10-14 daysStratification/scarification
Broccoli (Brassica oleracea var. italica)24-2675-807 mm3-7 daysNo
Brussels sprouts (Brassica oleracea var. gemmifera)7-2645-8012 mm7-12 daysNo
Cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. capitata)23-2675-805 mm4-10 daysNo
Cape gooseberry  (Physalis peruviana)18-2665-80Surface7-21 daysNo
Capsicum (Capsicum annuum)23-2675-804 mm14-18 daysNo
Carrot (Daucus carota)7-3045-855 mm14-21 daysSoak
Cauliflower (Brassica oleracea var. botrytis)23-2675-805 mm7-14 daysNo
Celeriac (Apium graveolens var. rapaceum)21-2470-756 mm14-21 daysNo
Celery (Apium graveolens)15-1860-652 mm14-21 daysNo
Chicory radicchio (Cichorium intybus var. foliosum)10-2250-725 mm4-7 daysNo
Chinese cabbage
(Brassica rapa subsp. pekinensis)
21-2570-776 mm10-21 daysNo
Chilli (Capsicum spp.)25-2877-825 mm7-10 daysNo
Chives (Allium schoenoprasum)15-2059-685 mm10-14 daysNo
Climbing bean (Phaseolus coccineus)18-2665-802.5 cm6-14 daysStratification/scarification
Comfrey (Symphytum spp.)10-1550-605 mm21-28 daysStratification
Coriander (Coriandrum sativum)12-2055-685 mm7-10 daysSoak
Corn (Zea mays)18-2965-8525 mm7-10 daysSoak
Cress (Lepidium sativum)7-1045-505 mm7-14 daysNo
Cucamelon (Melothria scabra)22-2471-756 mm14-21 daysNo
Cucumber (Cucumis sativus)23-3575-9525 mm3-10 daysNo
Dill (Anethum graveolens)15-2360-7525 mm10-14 daysStratification
Eggplant (Solanum melongena}22-2571-776 mm7-12 daysNo
Endive (Cichorium endivia)15-2060-6825 mm14-18 daysNo
Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)15-2160-706 mm10-14 daysStratification
Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum)18-2065-686 mm7-10 daysNo
Kale (Brassica oleracea
var. sabellica)
7-2345-7510 mm6-10 daysNo
Kohlrabi (Brassica oleracea var. gongylodes)10-2950-8510 mm3-10 daysNo
Leek (Allium ampeloprasum var. porrum)21-2970-855 mm10-14 daysNo
Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis)18-2165-705 mm7-14 daysStratification/Scarification
Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus)21-2370-755 mm10-16 daysNo
Lettuce (Lactuca sativa)21-2370-753 mm7-10 daysNo
Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra, G. uralensis)18-2160-655 mm14-21 daysStratification/Scarification
Luffa (Luffa aegyptiaca)26-2980-855 mm21-25 daysNo
Mint (Mentha spp.)22-2472-756 mm10-16 daysNo
Mizuna (Brassica rapa var. Laciniifolia)7-2945-856 mm5-14 daysNo
Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca)18-2465-756 mm7-21 daysStratification
Mountain mint (Pycnanthemum virginianum)21-2470-755 mm10-16 daysStratification
Mustard (Brassica nigra)12-1855-6510 mm7-10 daysNo
Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus)15-2060-6810 mm7-12 daysScarification/Soak
Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus)15-1860-6520 mm3-10 daysScarification
Onion (Allium cepa)22-2472-755 mm6-12 daysNo
Oregano (Origanum vulgare)18-2165-705 mm10-21 daysStratification
Curly parsley
Petroselinum crispum
18-2165-703 mm7-21 daysNo
Continental parsley
crispum neapolitanum)
21-2370-755 mm14-28 daysNo
(Pastinaca sativa)
10-2150-706 mm14-28 daysNo
Pea (Pisum sativum)18-2165-7025 mm7-14 daysScarification/Soak
Pumpkin (Cucurbita spp.)25-3568-9520 mm7-14 daysNo
Radish (Raphanus sativus)12-2355-755 mm5-7 daysScarification
Rhubarb (Rheum rhabarbarum)20-2368-7312 mm7-14 daysSoak
Rocket (Eruca vesicaria ssp. sativa)15-2060-685 mm7-14 daysNo
Rockmelon (Cucumis melo var. cantalupensis)28-3082-8620 mm7-10 daysNo
Rosella (Platycercus
caledonicus brownii
26-2980-8510 mm10-14 daysNo
(Salvia rosmarinus)
21-2670-806 mm14-28 daysStratification
Sage (Salvia officinalis)18-2165-703 mm10-14 daysStratification
Saint John’s wort
(Hypericum perforatum)
21-2370-75Surface10-20 daysStratification
Self heal (Prunella vulgaris)21-2370-752 mm14-21 daysStratification
Silver beet
(Beta vulgaris var. cicla)
10-3050-8615 mm5-10 daysNo
Savory (Satureja hortensis)18-2165-703 mm7-14 daysNo
Society garlic (Tulbaghia violacea)18-2165-703 mm14-21 daysNo
Sorrel (Rumex acetosa)20-2268-7112 mm7-21 daysNo
Spaghetti squash
(Cucurbita pepo)
25-3577-9520 mm7-14 daysNo
(Spinacia oleracea)
7-2045-6815 mm5-7 daysNo
Spring onion
(Allium fistulosum)
23-2573-775 mm7-14 daysNo
Squash (Cucurbita spp.)23-2675-852 cm7-10 daysNick
Swede (Brassica napus)16-3060-8620 mm4-10 daysNo
Sweet cicely (Myrrhis odorata)13-1855-653 mm2-8 weeksStratification
Tarragon (Artemisia
10-2550-77Surface4-14 daysNo
Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)18-2165-703 mm14-21 daysStratification
Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum)18-2965-853 mm6-8 daysScarification/Soak
Turnip (Brassica rapa subsp. rapa)18-2965-8510 mm7-10 daysNo
Valarian (Valeriana officinalis)16-1860-6510 mm7-10 daysStratification
(Verbena officinalis)
20-2668-80Surface14-90 daysStratification
Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus)26-2980-8525 mm4-12 daysScarification/Soak
Wild garlic (Allium ursinum)15-2059-685 mm7-10 daysStratification
Zucchini (Cucurbita pepo)25-3577-9510 mm7-14 daysNo