Featured Plant of the Month: Rosemary!
Rosemary, or Salvia rosmarinus, is a fragrant herb from the mint family, Lamiaceae and is native to the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. Rosemary is a perennial evergreen shrub that can grow 4’ tall and 4’ wide, so it will need plenty of space in your Growing Dome’s raised beds.
Rosemary has slender leaves that grow on woody stems as the plant matures and the flowers range from blue to white. Besides being a wonderful herb for cooking, rosemary has many health benefits and is a source of vitamins A, C and B-6, plus iron and calcium and has been used for its medicinal properties for centuries.
Growing a rosemary plant from seed is a very slow process as germination rates are very low. If you do decide to grow from seeds, they can take 2-3 weeks to germinate! The quickest method is propagation from an established plant. Rosemary cuttings should be kept out of sunlight and will be ready for planting in about two weeks.
Where to plant rosemary: Rosemary likes full sun (at least 6 hours per day) and loamy, well-drained soil. Our Growing Dome planting guide recommends planting on the north or east in a sunny spot that is not blocked by trees or vining plants. Our expert tip is to plant rosemary near your Growing Dome’s vents or fans to increase air circulation and reduce the risk of fungal infections.
When to plant rosemary: It is best to plant when your soil is at least 70 degrees. At our Growing Domes in Pagosa Springs, Colorado (USDA hardiness zone 5), rosemary starts like to be planted in March-May or July-September. This allows them to become established before the harsh heat or after winter growing conditions.
Watering rosemary: Rosemary likes to dry between watering. A basic soil touch test is the best way to tell if its time for watering.
Rosemary Companion Plants
Companion plants are a wonderful tool to incorporate into your Growing Dome and rosemary is a star! It is a good companion to your brassicas (broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower) as it can help deter the dreaded cabbage moth.
Planting rosemary near collards, garlic, carrots and beans can help discourage Japanese beetles and carrot flies. Just remember to allow your rosemary plenty of room to grow or another option is to plant it in a container inside your Dome.
Rosemary also grows well with basil, chives, fennel, lavender, oregano and sage. This is why rosemary is a star. It is a friend to many. If you are unfamiliar with companion planting we recommend learning more from the farmer’s almanac.
How to Harvest Rosemary
Rosemary sprigs can be snipped throughout the growing season, especially in your Dome, but it is best to take your harvest from the younger, green stems rather than from the woody stems. For the best flavor and aroma, harvest 4-6” tips just before your plant blooms.
To dry them for later use, tie sprigs together, hang upside down (your rosemary, not you) in a cool, dry and ventilated area for about two weeks. After you dry the sprigs, strip the leaves and store them in an airtight container and toss the stems in your compost pile.
Rosemary is a popular herb used in many types of cuisine from Mediterranean to Southern and if you search for rosemary recipes on the internet you will find an overwhelming number of pages so here are two of our fall favorites, Butternut Squash Soup and Sunchoke Chips with Rosemary & Roasted Garlic Dip!
Fun Facts About Rosemary
Tea made from rosemary is thought to enhance memory and you can even wear a sprig of it in your hair to improve your memory. (I hope I remember to try this!) Rosemary symbolizes love, remembrance and loyalty. You can place a sprig of rosemary or lavender under your ironing board cover to add a lovely fragrance to your clothes when ironing. And don’t forget the #1 song in January 1970 by Edison Lighthouse, “Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)”. (I bet you’re singing that song right now!)
Happy gardening…”Because Love grows where my Rosemary goes…”