Rosemary



Rosemary is a perennial which means it will come back each year, but it can only tolerate temperatures to zero degrees Fahrenheit. It does not survive the colder northern climates and therefore you should take it in over the winter. If you want to let it brave the cold, I cover my Rosemary and Lavender with heavy mulch made of straw and leaves and so far they have survived.

It is a beautiful evergreen shrub with light purple/blue flowers. It has a sweet, wonderful flavor. Rosemary is a great addition to a rock garden or centre point of a large garden.

Planting

Start your seeds or cuttings indoors 8 to 10 weeks before the last spring frost.
Rosemary is easiest to grow from a cutting, rather than planting seeds. Find a healthy, established rosemary plant and clip off a few 4 inch pieces to propagate.
If you start indoors use a soil-less starter mix for seeds or container soil for cuttings. Place it in a window or under a grow light after the plant starts to sprout.

Rosemary does well in containers that can be put outside after the last frost.

When moving the plant outside find a spot that has well drained soil and the soil should be around 21C or 70ºF and they like lots of sun.

Be sure to give your plants enough room to grow. Rosemary grows to about 4 feet tall and spreads about 4 feet as well. If they are in pots this will contain them. I will usually plant them in medium size containers to start and then to a large container mid-summer. I also have many inground, they are so visually appealing.

In the garden, plant near sage, cabbage, carrots, or beans. Rosemary deters cabbage moths, bean beetles, and carrot flies. Use cuttings to place by the crowns of carrots for carrot flies.

Caring for your Rosemary

After the plant flowers, trim the plant. The purpose of pruning a rosemary bush is to take the plant back to the space you are trying to fill. Plus they like to be groomed so you should trim and prune the stems regularly after it is established. You will probably need pruners to accomplish this as the branches become quite thick. Be sure to get cuttings or divide the plant for next season.

Continue growing rosemary in the winter in pots making sure to give your plant lots of light. Rosemary prefers cooler temperatures so don’t put it too close to a heat source or register. It requires little water once it is established, they like to dry out, and does well in a container indoors.

Rosemary is very prone to several types of root rot and Blight, and Leaf Spot. Be sure to plant the rosemary in a well-draining soil and water sparingly. Allow the soil to dry before watering, generally watering once every 1–2 weeks or to suit your weather conditions. Container plants need to be watered more often. Plants benefit from a regular addition of a natural fertilizer.
A layer of mulch will protect the plants over winter.

How to Harvest Rosemary

Rosemary can be harvested as soon as the plant is established and has reached a suitable size. Branches are harvested by cutting them before they become woody. Rosemary can be harvested several times in one season but allow the plant to recover in between harvesting.
Prune the stems to use fresh. You can dry the leaves as well and store in an airtight container.

Uses Rosemary leaves can be used fresh or dried as a herb in cooking or in salads. It is delicious with poultry, stews, lamb dishes and soups.

The leaves and flowers can be used to extract rosemary oil and used as a seasoning or as a scent in soaps and household products.