Rosemary in the garden and at home - fragrant spice without much hassle
Those who like to cook, for sure, often add rosemary to various first and second courses as a spice. Its tart and slightly bitter taste and aroma are best combined with fatty varieties of meat and fish. In my opinion, baked lamb without rosemary is “typical not that”. They sell it both in dried form and as greens in large supermarkets. In addition to the taste in dishes, rosemary has some healing properties, soothes the nervous system and is a powerful antimicrobial agent.
Well, well, but for gardeners, what’s the matter, because it grows only in the south? Well, not really like that. You have a chance to grow this plant. And in this article we’ll talk more about growing rosemary on the windowsill and in the open ground.
Rosemary in nature
To begin with, it is worth discarding all the "knowledge" that the Internet is filled with. And there they write about rosemary only about a capricious and very demanding plant. It's not like that at all. If you have been or are in the south where this evergreen shrub grows, pay attention to where and how it grows. As a rule, these are open, sunny, and therefore hot and arid places, moreover, the soil there is, frankly, “not so hot”, light colored earth (rather dust), and even interspersed with stones ...
And rosemary grows and grows very well. Its adaptability to such difficult living conditions should be used if you decide to acquire this useful and beautiful plant.
As I said, rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) - a low shrub (in nature usually up to 1-1.2 m), which grows not so much in height as in width. Its stems are covered with narrow, light leaves, when you look at which it is immediately clear that they evaporate little moisture, which means that the plant itself requires a little water. In some ways, these leaves are similar to lavender leaves, only the color is different. And in general, these plants are very similar in many respects: both in appearance and in that they produce an unforgettable southern aroma, and in their agricultural technology.
How to propagate rosemary
To grow rosemary, you need to get planting material. Of course, someone will go and buy a ready-made plant in a garden store, but this is not our method. We need to learn to go through all the stages with him, and then success will be guaranteed.
Rosemary is propagated in several ways: by seeds, cuttings and rooting of layering. We will proceed from the fact that we do not have a bush and it will not be possible to make layering. So, seeds and cuttings remain.
Propagation of rosemary seeds
If you bought rosemary seeds, then you should know that in the same way as in the case of lavender, it is advisable for them to undergo a 30-day stratification (treatment with cold and moisture). Simply put, take a container with holes in the bottom and fill it with a loose mixture that is absolutely not necessarily nutritious - say, 1: 1 earth from the garden and neutral peat or washed sand.
Sow seeds lightly, wrap the container in a bag and send it to the cold room for one month (no light needed), for example, a cellar or a refrigerator. The temperature should be within + 3 ... + 5 degrees. After a month, put the stratified rosemary seeds in a container for germination in a warm room (temperature + 18 ... + 25 ° C), preferably on a windowsill.
In the period from 10 days to a month, rosemary shoots should appear. After another month, the grown plants can be neatly settled according to individual containers. Most importantly, do not overfill the kids. Between watering, the top layer of soil substrate should dry.
Propagation of rosemary by cuttings
To me personally, this method seems simpler. The only difficulty is getting rosemary cuttings. You can bring them from the south or try to root those that are sold in supermarkets: if they are not very wilted, then they will take root.
Cuttings of rosemary 10-15 cm long are cut from the top of the branches, the lower leaves are removed (be sure to leave the upper ones) and put simply in a jar of water. There should not be much water, about a 3-4 centimeter, as it needs to be added as it evaporates. Water should not be taken as tap water, chlorinated, but soft - rain water, from a well or from a filter. At a temperature of + 22 ... + 25 degrees, roots will appear in 2-3 weeks.
The most interesting thing is that no matter how many times I have rooted rosemary, each time the same picture: on some cuttings the roots appear faster and develop more actively, and on some they “slow down”. Why does this happen? I don’t know, because I take cuttings from one bush, and they take root in the same conditions, but the difference is very significant. But, nevertheless, all the cuttings sooner or later give roots.
It is very important to prevent their strong growth in water. Plant the rooting cuttings in containers with soil until the roots formed are small, no more than 0.5 cm, so they will take root better and faster.
The first stage has passed. Now there are two options - either you will grow rosemary in the open ground, or in a container on the windowsill.
Growing rosemary in the garden
When grown in open ground, it is worth knowing that rosemary is a southern plant and does not like low temperatures. So they write. But here are my personal observations. Rosemary bushes planted under the south wall of the house last winter survived when the temperature dropped to -15 ... -20 degrees. But, really, in especially severe frosts, I covered them from above with agrofibre folded in several layers. This winter was snowless, but the temperature did not fall below -10 degrees, the bushes feel excellent and completely without shelter.
The following rule: do not fertilize the soil under rosemary and water it abundantly. Yes, in the summer from your excessive "worries" the bushes will actively grow, but this is fraught with poor wintering and freezing. If your climate allows, then plant rosemary in open ground, but under the protection of buildings from cold winter winds.
And again I will give advice: despite the fact that I grow rosemary in the open ground, always in case of an abnormally cold winter and the possible death of my favorites I have one or two rosemary wintering in a container.
Growing rosemary indoors
The main thing that rosemary grown on the windowsill suffers from is excessive concern. Paradox? But when you begin to deal with dying seedlings from acquaintances, it is usually overflow and excessive fertilizer.
Remember the beginning of this article. Rosemary is a hardy, drought tolerant and growing plant on poor soils. Give him such conditions, and you will collect the “crop” of delicious seasoning from him all year round. In winter, it is worth at least two months to place rosemary in a cool, but bright room with a temperature of + 8 ... + 12 ° C, although this is not necessary.
What is important? Rosemary loves neutral or slightly alkaline soil and plenty of sunlight. Be sure to keep a pot with a plant in the garden, in a sunny place from spring to autumn (do not forget to water it, it's still a pot). The more sun a plant receives, the more fragrant its greens will be.
How to harvest a “crop” and what to do with it? For seasoning, you need to tear off (cut off) the very top with young leaves. This contributes to the fact that the bush begins to branch and grow more actively. Yes, by the way, an important trifle, plant rosemary, if possible, next to the kitchen, at arm's length. If this is not possible, then you can procure rosemary for the future. Here are a couple of recipes that I use.
The use of rosemary in cooking
I like to make different vinegars, which I then use for salads, dumplings and other things. Heat a glass of apple cider vinegar to a temperature of + 50 ... + 60 degrees and pour fresh rosemary leaves, you can add a couple of chopped cloves of garlic and a few peas of black pepper. Insist in a sealed container, in a dark place for 2-4 weeks.
For him, it is better to take dried rosemary leaves (fresh then moldy). We fill the jar tightly with rosemary and fill it with good vegetable oil. For a full southern effect, it is better to use olive. This is a great salad dressing.
Grind in a mortar or grind sea salt with rosemary leaves in a blender. Add the zest of lemon and orange. Be sure to lay it thinly on a tray and dry thoroughly. I use it as ordinary salt in different dishes, it is especially good to sprinkle boiled seafood (shrimp, for example).
And you can also make a rosemary decoction and add to the bathtub, use it as aftershave, apply in aroma lamps ... In general, a lot of interesting and useful things can be done with rosemary. So I strongly advise you to try. Yes, and just run a hand along its branches and feel this southern, for us such an alluring smell - that's a lot! Plant, you will not regret!