Growing herbs in Ghana
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Kelly Luck
Posted on: June 03, 2004

I will be leaving for Ghana on June 5th for 3-week volunteer project aimed at helping local farmers to market culinary herbs such as basil, chives, parsley, dill, sage, thyme, and oregano. I recently spoke with the local partner that I will be working with in Ghana and they explained that they are in need of a useful list of potential places to get good quality culinary herbs seeds suitable for the tropics. Apparently, the germination rate of the seeds they have been getting is quite low. Can you recommend specific seeds in your catalog to try or growing advice that might improve the germination rate?

Germination should not be a problem unless the basic horticultural practices such as even irrigation and not planting too deep etc. are not followed. Excessive heat can lower germination also, but my suspicion is that the watering is the main problem because so much of Ghana lacks adequate agricultural irrigation. Of course the torrential rainfalls during the rainy seasons can be very damaging, washing out seeds and destroying seedlings. Another possible problem is the storage of seeds before seeding: heat and humidity can quickly destroy many herb seeds.

In my mind, the bigger issues occur after the seeds have germinated. The heavy rainfall and termites can destroy herb crops easily. Heat can also impede the growth of temperate-zone crops such as chives and parsley. Sage definitely suffers from excessive rainfall and it may have to be grown as an annual rather than a perennial, as may be the case for many herbs.

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