Rosemary

Growing Rosemary-Everything You Need To Know

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Have you ever tried growing rosemary? You can grow it in the ground or in pots. It has a fragrant, pungent, lavender-like, evergreen woody smell. Oh, it’s fabulous! You can save so much money by drying your own rosemary, compared to those little tiny spice jars. Just think of the rosemary bread you can make or the grilled chicken with olive oil and tidbits of this herb baked on the meat. Oh my, life is good when cooking at home.

Mark and I trade off making dinner every other Sunday with some friends in our neighborhood. Their names are Brent and Kathleen. Well, Kathleen kept “snipping some rosemary” from her neighbor’s bush when she would make bread or a meat dish that needed that herb included. Well, just so you know, you may want your own bush. Here’s the deal, the neighbor thought her bush was lopped-sided now because Kathleen had “snipped” it one too many times. Just giving you the heads up here. I just giggled because the bush is like five feet in diameter. Life is so good, right?

Growing Rosemary

Rosemary

I had a huge bush in my yard, but it took over the side yard so I ended up tearing it out and replacing it with a smaller bush. So keep in mind where you plant your rosemary, it’s a very prolific bush.

Rosemary Seeds or Cuttings

Most people start with cuttings, but you can plant seeds. It’s really easy to plant. Rosemary grows to about 36 inches tall, so keep that in mind when you decide where to plant a bush or two. They make a beautiful hedge around your yard if you keep it trimmed. Rosemary needs sunshine at least 6-8 hours a day to flourish. Be sure and prune them often.

It’s a perennial that thrives in Zone 7 or warmer. You can grow it in cooler areas by bringing the containers inside your home in the wintertime. It’s an evergreen plant, so that means it will stay green year-round if well-drained and fertilized. Please check your hardiness zone: USDA Hardiness Zone

Water when the soil is dry, but never let the soil get soggy. It must drain well in a fertile loamy soil. You may not have to fertilize because rosemary doesn’t usually need any fertilizer. If it looks pale or slightly yellow, dilute a liquid fertilizer and pour it carefully around the trunk.

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Each Spring you will want to compost your bushes and occasionally apply a 10-10-10 fertilizer when needed. Keep in mind too much fertilizer may damage the plant. In other words, these bushes are easy to grow with very little care needed.

Seeds:

You have to be patient when planting seeds. They may take up to 25 days to germinate. Some people give up too early and just plant cuttings. But you can plant seeds if you plant them indoors and transfer the seedlings outside after hardening the plants. This is where I buy my seeds: SeedsNow

Plant the seeds about 1/4 inch deep and just barely cover them with seedling soil. Water them in, and water when the soil dries out. Be sure and plant more seeds than normal because so many will probably not make it. That’s how this herb rolls.

They prefer temperatures of 80 to 90 degrees. The interesting thing about this plant is the fact that they do not require a lot of water. If you water them too much they may become woody and not as beautiful and fragrant. It will get to the point that you will water them every 1-3 weeks once established.

Days to Maturity: 80-90 days.

Rosemary pH Level: 5.5 to 6.0

Cuttings

Look for green branches (not old brown skinny ones), and cut some clippings about 5-6 inches long and put them in jars with some water. Change the tap water every day. In about 6-8 weeks you should see a few roots growing. I use clear mason jars so I can see the roots and know when they are ready to plant outside.

Be sure and clip a few extra cuttings in case some do not sprout roots. You can always buy some small plants at your local nursery store, but if you have a neighbor who will give you some cuttings, that’s the way to do it.

Can I Grow Rosemary In Pots?

Yes, you can grow it in the ground, in pots, or in raised garden beds. Keep in mind it spreads like crazy. Keep it trimmed as it grows or you may have an oversized plant! It looks beautiful on the porch in small or big pots. As it grows you will need to transplant them to larger pots. If you can see that the plant is root-bound it’s time to transplant. Never cut off more than 25% of the plant to keep it healthy and thriving.

Can We Eat The Rosemary Flowers?

Here’s the deal with the flowers, they may be eaten, in case you didn’t know that. Some people like the rosemary picked after the flowers bloom and some prefer the cuttings before they bloom. It’s a personal preference as to how intense the flavor they desire is.

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The flowers are great for early food pollinators and those wonderful Hummingbirds we all wait for each year!

Rosemary

How Do I Harvest Rosemary?

All you need is a good pair of garden scissors to snip off what you want to dry, dehydrate or freeze. You can see in this picture below how green this bush is, it’s a perfect time to snip.

Can I Dehydrate/Dry Rosemary?

It’s really easy to dry rosemary as shown below in the middle. On the left is Thyme, and Oregano is on the far right. All you do is tie them up in twine or string and let the air blow around them for several days or weeks. If you want to dehydrate it, snip some cuttings or branches. Do not wash the sprigs. Place the branches on the racks of your dehydrator.

I have an Excalibur dehydrator and it states to set the temperature at 95 degrees F and dry them until they are crisp to the touch. The length of time to dry will always depend on the humidity in the room where you are dehydrating them. Please check your dehydrator brand for the temperature they suggest. Excalibur Dehydrator

After they are completely dry you run your finger along the stem and the needles just flip off. I store mine in mason jars for a year using my FoodSaver. After that, I start all over again with fresh ones the following year. FoodSaver

What Does Rosemary Look Like Dried?

This is what it looks like after you dry it. You can use a rolling pin to finely crush the seeds when you need them.

Final Word

My hope today is that this post helps motivate you to plant some Rosemary seeds or cuttings in your yard. There’s something awesome about growing our own food, and this one is super easy to grow. If you have the right temperatures you can grow this year round. Thanks again for being prepared for the unexpected. May God bless this world, Linda

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This is where I buy my seeds: SeedsNow

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