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How To Grow Rosemary

06th November 2018

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Learn how to cultivate this delicious plant for an abundance of pickings

A staple addition to many Mediterranean dishes, rosemary is an essential part of any gardener’s plot. This perennial has the potential to produce harvests all year round, which means that you can always enjoy fresh leaves in your cooking. This herb prefers a sunny spot with well-drained soil to replicate its native growing conditions. It can also be cultivated in a large pot if gravel is added to the bottom before being filled with compost. Follow this guide to include this plant on your own plot.

Start Sowing
Cuttings can be taken from mature rosemary plants to cultivate new ones, but if you are starting from scratch, seeds are available from many suppliers. It’s important to bear in mind that germination rates can be low and erratic, so have patience and sow more seeds than you need in order to achieve success. Start between February to June or from September to October.

1. Sow seeds thinly into a tray filled with compost. Remember not to cover them over with more soil, and provide a consistent temperature of around 16°C. Germination can take up to three months, so be patient.
2. Transplant the seedlings into individual 7cm pots once they are 8cm tall. Continue to pot on your plants when you see roots poking through the holes at the bottom.
3. Adopt a limited irrigation routine to avoid water-logged soil, which can be disastrous for this crop. Weed the surrounding soil regularly – this helps with avoiding competition for light, space and moisture.
4. Once the risk of frost has passed it is time to choose the final planting spot for your rosemary crops. Growers have many options for this crop, including a large container, on the plot, on the patio or under cover as it is very versatile.

Pest Focus
Rosemary is generally pest and disease free, but it is best to keep an eye out for rosemary beetle. This metallic green insect feeds on the leaves of aromatic herbs, causing the plant to turn grey/brown and dry up at the ends. Pick off the beetles by hand if you find them lurking on your crops.

How To Harvest
Seed-sown plants will not be ready for picking until the following year. Once the crop is established, snipping leaves little and often will promote healthy growth and fresh, new foliage with plenty of flavour. Rosemary is an evergreen edible, which means that you should have the option to take harvests throughout the year, which could save a lot of money compared to purchasing this produce from a supermarket. It is best to take rosemary leaves as and when you need them to preserve freshness. However, the foliage can be dried, frozen or infused in olive oil to keep a supply in your kitchen.

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