Rosemary, the Perennial that is one of my favorites. Its very aromatic scent and mild woody flavor makes this herb a must have in your garden. Rosemary is an evergreen and has little blue flowers. It is native to the mediterranean and loves full sun. As in most herbs, rosemary has much more to offer then spice up your culinary creations.
Where, When and How to plant Rosemary
Rosemary is one of the more complicated herbs to grow in your garden. If your region has hot and dry temperatures you could plant rosemary in your garden. It will need well drained soil because rosemary does not tolerate consistently wet soil. Rosemary can grow up to 4 feet tall and just as wide, so make sure you give it enough space.
In case you are in a Region that has rain periods and is very humid I would suggest planting your rosemary in a container, so that it can be brought in during the rain season and winter.
Either way, you could start rosemary from seed, but it is very hard to germinate and takes a long time to do so. The best way to plant is with cuttings from a mature plant, that way you will get a head start by growing the cuttings indoors about 8 weeks before the last frost. When Spring comes and risk of frost has passed you are ready to move your new plants outside. Soil temperature should be around 70 degrees.
How to care for Rosemary
Make sure you have your plant is in full sun, the warmer the better. Soil needs to be very well drained. I grow my rosemary in cactus soil, which has the nutrients that it needs and is well draining. The hardest thing about keeping rosemary is to know when to water since it’s needle like leaves do not wilt, so my suggestion is to water every 2 weeks unless you are in a dessert like region where you should water once a week. As mentioned before, if you are in a region that gets cold, keep your plant in a container and bring it indoor for the colder months. Make sure it stays out of cold drafts and has full sun.
When do you harvest Rosemary and how
Rosemary can be harvested all year round and should be pruned regularly to keep it bushy and does not generate long shoots that have little to no leaves. You can snip off stems to use fresh in your dishes or hang them in small bundles in a dry dark place for later use. It is best to harvest the young stems to get the freshest taste. When harvesting you want to trim about one third of the plant and then let it rest to regrow more stems to harvest.
Storing Rosemary and how to use them
It is best to dry your stems and then keep in an airtight container. You can either do that with the whole stems or you can break of the needles, like leaves, for a smaller container if storage is an issue. Use the fresh stems to add to your dishes, make tea or add to bread, butter and what ever dish you would like to make a little hardier in taste.
Medicinal use :
Rosemary is a rich source of antioxidants and has been shown to help with brain function by enhancing memory and concentration. It also has many anti-inflamatory properties that can reduce swelling and puffiness of the skin and helps to heal burns. The medicinal quality of this herb is powerful and often used to help with curing chronic skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. Rosemary, when added to your diet is a good source of iron, calcium, and vitamin B-6.
However DO NOT INGEST ROSEMARY OIL. It can cause damage to liver and stomach, has been know to cause
seizures along with other side effects. Read here to get the full list
Rosemary Oil is energizing and can revitalize the atmosphere you are in, no matter if in the office, kitchen or car. Just add a few drops of rosemary oil to your difuser or car vent clip. If you like, you can also add it with Orange or Lemon Oil to get that uplifting feel.
Rosemary is also know to help with reducing dull hair, just add a few drops of rosemary oil to your daily shampoo, let it sit on your skull for 5 minutes while showering and then finish up with your normal routine.
How to harvest your own Rosemary
Rosemary should be divided every couple of years, to give it enough room to reproduce nice bushy stems. Even though you could harvest the seeds of your flowering plant, I would not suggest it. Seeds are very hard to germinate and will take a very long time (4-7 weeks) and need very special care. It is much easier to cut stems of a mature plant that can be planted directly in small pots with very well drained soil and are being watered frequently until rooted.