In February I set up some lights in my basement and bought some heat mats. I started some herbs along side vegetables and flowers. I tried to find varieties specifically used for traditional Chinese medicine. However some of seeds I started are just relatives to the the medicinal varieties.
For example, after finding out 瞿麥 Qu Mai is a Pinks, more specifically Dianthus serperbus or Dianthus chinesis, I went into Lowes looking for Pinks seeds. Maiden Pinks (Dianthus deltoides), was all I can find. So that what I grew.
I also started 藿香 Huo Xiang. The medicinal varieties used are usually Pogostemon cablin (Patchouli) or Agastache rugosa, available here as Korean Hyssop. I bought Agastache foeniculum (Anise Hyssop) along with Agastache rugosa, so I'm starting both.
Some seeds really took off. 薏苡仁 Yi Yi Ren or Job's Tear has a 100% super fast germination and is currently growing bigger than the space I have.
Some seeds did not germinate well. I put 2-3 seeds per cell and only 1 seed germinated for 甘草 Gan Cao (Licorice).
黃耆 Huang Qi (Astragulus or Chinese Milk Vetch) has pretty good germinate rate is growing steadily.
黨參 Dang Shen (Codonopsis or Poor Man's Ginseng) germinated so slowly, I nearly gave up on it.
白扁豆 Bai Bian Dou Hyancinth Beans are showing a lot potential. The germination was fast and 100%. It grew so fast I already had to up-pot it. Instruction on the package said to start indoor, but conventional garden wisdom says beans hates to be transplanted and should be direct-sown. We'll see how these turn out.