I have three resolutions for the new year in the herb garden. The first is that less is more. I will sow just fewer varieties of each herb and I will sow less than I usually do so that I am not a slave to looking after too many seedlings at a time. This will be the hardest resolution to keep.

How can I limit the number of varieties of basil, my all-time favourite herb? Now I have found that I love coriander I will still want to grow several different leaf shapes and flavours…. And so on… so that is one that is likely to be broken straight away. But it is the one that doesn't matter as much as the other two resolutions. And in any case, if you are growing to sell plants, you will be dealing in quantity anyway.

The second resolution is to really clean the greenhouse staging this winter to make sure it doesn't harbour any pests and diseases. Clean, clean, clean is the golden rule. I have also cleaned the glass to make sure there is maximum light available to the seedlings I intend to grow. Being clean and tidy in the greenhouse is really the number one rule and the way to ensure that you grow healthy seedlings whether they are sown in the ground or in the greenhouse.

My third resolution to be prepared when I am ready to start sowing. I am making sure I have all I need to hand - pots, modules, propagators, compost, vermiculite or perlite, labels and, of course, the seeds, all ready and waiting before I start. No running short midway through.

Growing from seed is one of the least expensive methods of increasing herb stock and it is just simply the best seasonal experience in the herb garden. Nothing is quite as rewarding as seeing tiny plants bursting from the most unlikely dustings of powdery seed, or from more unusual large seeds.

Many herbs will sow themselves liberally in the garden, so you may not need to worry about sowing new supplies. Pot marigold, tansy, angelica and fennel are among the self-seeders in my kitchen garden.

I am getting ready for a late winter and early spring sowing session. I will be using my greenhouse, heated propagator and also sowing some herbs into containers on sunny windowsills.

Seed that is particularly fine, seed that takes a long time to germinate and seed that needs extra warmth to germinate should be sown indoors.

Before you begin sowing thing of my second resolution and make sure that every tool or utensil, as well as the greenhouse is clean and washed down. Remove any old pots of soil, sweep out dead leaves and remove any plant material that could possibly by a breeding ground for pest and disease. A clean environment will give the herb seedlings a healthy start and there will be less likelihood of pests and diseases affecting them at an early stage in their development.

Make sure you have enough space for working with the various containers such as seeds trays, pots, a heated propagator and the sowing compost. Work on a clean surface.

Part fill a seed tray with compost and use a flat board to firm and level and surface. Stand the container in a potting tray filled with water, so that is absorbs water from the base. Or you can use a watering can with a fine rose or a fine spray from a misting wand to moisten the compost.

Next sprinkle the seed onto the surface of the compost and then use a sieve to shake compost over to cover the seeds. You can also cover the surface with perlite or vermiculite. Water sparingly and then place in the propagator until germination takes place.

Check daily for germination and when the seedlings are growing well you can remove them from the heated propagator. WHen they are large enough to handle you can pot them on and eventually they can be transplanted into the herb garden.

This year I am starting off some new chive plants which will need to be heated to 20ºC/68°F. I also plan to sow lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus).

You can buy lemon grass, which looks like a rolled up slightly green stick, from supermarkets, but it is relatively easy to grow it from seed. It is a half hardy perennial and suits container growing. I will be sowing seed from February through to April. After sowing seed onto the surface of compost cover it with vermiculite or compost and place it in a propagator or keep it in a polythene bag.

It will need temeratures from 20 to 25 °C/ 68-77° F to germinate, which should take anything from 21 to 40 days.

When the plants are large enough to handle transplant them into trays or pots and then harden them off before putting the containers outside when all danger of frost is past.

Lemon grass is a wonderful flavouring for all Asian and Oriental styles of cuisine. It gives a lovely citrus aroma and grows to form a shapely grass plant. Use young leaves and cut them finely. Once your plants have matured you will be able to use selected basal shoots, but until they are mature use leaves.

It is great to grow herbs near the kitchen door, but this does mean lots of pots or grow bags, so this year I am delighted to be using a wicker frame that conceals a strong black growing bag with handles and drainage holes.

It makes the courtyard look attractive and I am sure will increase my herb enjoyment. Made by Burgon and Ball, they come in brown or white and are simple to assemble.

They are available from good garden centres.