What a wonderful world it would be if every boring front-porch bush was replaced with a big, beautiful rosemary plant. Do your part by learning how to grow rosemary. The herb that looks like a shrub, rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) has an aroma that somehow manages to be invigorating, relaxing and intoxicating—all at the same time. Before I begin, I have to admit, I love rosemary. If given a chance, I’ll spend far too much time groping it to steal its amazing aroma. And if I could, I’d probably wear bags of it behind my ears (or stuff sachets of it in my pockets)!
Why Every Garden Needs Some Rosemary
A perennial herb (or biennial herb, depending on whom you talk to), rosemary is a fairly hardy herb widely used in Mediterranean and homestead-style dishes. Flavorful and aromatic, it lends itself well to just about any meat marinade (think lamb, chicken and turkey and you’re off to a good start) and it’s absurdly easy to use. Brush your meat with olive oil and rub it down with chopped rosemary and you’ve got a 5-minute marinade that lends loads of flavor to any meal.
Plus, rosemary’s a fairly low-fuss herb. Not only is it a cold-resistant herb (perfect for winter gardens in the right zones), it’s drought resistant too (so don’t overwater it). Just remember that left to its own devices, it can grow quite big—so either plant it somewhere where it will have room to grow or be prepared to cut it back as needed.
How to Grow Rosemary in Your Garden
Much easier to grow from a starter shrub than seed, note the following when growing your own garden rosemary:
- Plant in full sun, with well-drained soil.
- If growing more than one plant, space each at least 30 inches apart.
Prune and pick leaves as needed but remember that flavor peaks before flowers appear.
- Will successfully overwinter indoors if put in a high-humidity environment. (Take a nice, hot shower one or two times a day? Your bathroom may be just what your container-grown rosemary needs!)
How to Use Rosemary in the Kitchen
Unless you like bland foods free of burdensome aroma and flavor, you can use rosemary to spruce up just about any dish. Want a flavorful meat marinade? Rub your meat with fresh, chopped rosemary and olive oil for a fresh marinade that will leave you drooling. Want to add a little something special to an otherwise ho-hum omelet? Bake it with parmesan, thyme and rosemary for a beatific breakfast. Use your imagination and you'll never run out of ways to use this wonderful herb.
For growing specifications for growing rosemary (like preferred soil pH, planting depths and germination rates), check out the Gardening Resources page.
(Images couresy of m a essam, nkzs and fantax. Thanks!)