Viewing NatureWalker's Garden Diary: Germinating Rosemary from seed
Sunday, June 11, 2006Rosemary is an herb in the labiatae (mint) family. It's a tender perennial grayish green ornamental shrub 2-6 feet high with scaly bark (as it grows bigger.) It's foliage is needle-like and gray green in color. Flowers are small pale blue to pink clusters.
Direct seeding is not always successful. Start seeds indoors and transplant the seedlings out. Darkness will aid germination. Cover the seeds lightly with soil after sowing. Optimum soil temperature for germination is 60º Fahrenheit. Germination time is usually 14-21 days. Sow heavily because the seeds have a poor germination rate. Some seeds can germinate up to 3 months after sowing. Rosemary needs full sun to partial shade, and a well drained area. Water in between dry downs; do not use enclosed planters. Their roots dislike being cramped up.
Use critterologist's Clump transplanting & seed starting tips for this in the Propagation Forum: [[email protected]]
You can take 4" cuttings from a plant and strip the lower leaves off & save those leaves for seasoning; then put the cuttings directly into a well drained spot to keep it from getting root rot. It is recommended to take 4" cuttings when harvesting-which can be done anytime of the year.
During the winter, temperatures must remain above 10º Fahrenheit for outdoor plants.
We bring our Rosemary indoors for the winter up here because it can be too cold for the plants to survive outdoors, -20º Fahrenheit up here. This herb needs particular care to survive the winter though. It's only hardy to Zone 7a; but you may be able to get away with it outdoors if you mulch the plant heavily. But I'd take some cuttings in for the winter too if I were you.
You'll need to transplant it carefully in to a large container so it has room to grow. The roots tend to be tough, (like the shrubs they are) 3-4 feet some times; so when digging up; dig wide and deep. Use a good household potting soil mix and organic compost (not too much if it is a moist variety --this will be too strong in a pot and may contribute to root rot). Make sure it is well drained, well watered and spray the leaves with water every so often, especially if you have the heat up in the winter.
History of Rosemary:
An old French term for rosemary was incensier - incense. Because Rosemary was easily harvested from the wild it was an incense used by the poor or lower classes as a substitute for expensive frankincense or myrrh-based incense in ancient Greece and Rome. The upper class and nobility could afford the more costly imported resins.
When a twig of rosemary is burned it is said to rid space of negativity because of its cleansing vibrations. It was burnt at shrines in Ancient Greece, and burned to drive away evil spirits and to drive away illnesses.
Other beliefs include:
Place a fresh twig beneath your pillow to drive away nightmares.
Lay it under your bed for a good night's sleep.
A necklace made from rosemary preserves your youth and is said that it is also grown to attract elves.
Rosemary is also said to be an herb of remembrance and has been added to wedding bouquets. In some European countries it is still a custom to carry rosemary in funeral processions and to cast the herb into the grave at the burial ceremony.
Before the advent of modern medicine rosemary was burned, along with juniper berries, as a disinfectant in French hospitals.
Cooking with Rosemary:
Here are some simple culinary uses for Rosemary.
Teas: Adding Rosemary to your tea is a unique flavor that is good for soothing and cooling. It's a great thirst quencher. Pick a 2-4" sprig, wash it and add to your teapot. Steep for 2-3 minutes. Longer for a more potent flavor. Is good with or without milk. A sprig of Rosemary in your lemonade gives it an even more refreshing flavor.
Marinades: Adding Rosemary to any marinade will give it a refreshing and peppy flavor. Here's one you can use on squash, mushrooms or potatoes. Use 1 teaspoon of powdered or 2 teaspoons of crushed Rosemary leaves to every 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Use a dash of your favorite soy or tamari sauce and glaze your vegetables then back them or marinade them with the mix.
Meat Substitutes: Marinating meat substitutes is our specialty. We have a cookbook with many delicious marinades for unique flavors. A basic marinade is a variation on the above. Use the same formula of oil to Rosemary for every cup of water. Add 1 teaspoon each of dry marjoram and sage and marinade your tofu, seitan strips for 8 hours, more for a stronger flavor. Then bake or stir fry with a little olive oil or clarified butter.
Jun 6, 2006, 12:18 AM