Rosemary is a very hearty herb that has been used over the years in a variety of dishes around the world.

Rosemary is a perennial evergreen shrub consisting of small needle leaves which bloom in winter and early spring. When mature, rosemary plants grow to be nearly 6 feet tall.  Most adult plants grown by the home gardener end up much smaller, especially when the plant is grown in a container.

There are numerous health benefits that have been associated with Rosemary over the years.  Rosemary may improve memory, relax muscles, and stimulate the nervous system. It is also used in alternative medicine to aid in digestive problems, and depression.

Growing Rosemary:

Rosemary plants may grow in both full sun and light shade.  They also tolerate regular watering, but will also grow in drought conditions.  The resiliency of the plant makes it a great addition to any garden, regardless of the soil or weather conditions.

This herb should be planted in moderately to well draining soil, in either full or partial sun.  If you soil tends to be on the dense side, add in some sand or mulch to obtain better draining conditions.

Since rosemary is tolerant of hot, dry conditions, it may be planted in warmer climates.  If you plants are growing in dry conditions, make sure to provide them with a good soaking once a month to encourage deeper root development.  Rosemary is susceptible to root rot, some make sure the soil is dry before you water it again.

Harvesting Rosemary:

To harvest rosemary, simply use shears or a knife to cut stems from the plant. You can cut the stems near the base of the plant or cut ones closer to the top. Cut as many stems as you think you’ll need, but never cut more than 1/4 of all stems on the plant. This way you will be sure that your plant will survive and thrive to produce more sprigs in the future.

Cooking with Rosemary:

Rosemary may be used directly from the garden. Simply pull trim off a branch and pull off the needle-like leaves.  Many prefer to dice the leaves into smaller sections for a more even taste and consistency in their dishes.

Rosemary may also be preserved for later use either by drying out some of the springs or freezing.  To dry, place the springs on a screen in a warm, dry location.  You may also use a dehydrator on the lowest setting.

Whether you are a novice or avid gardener, Rosemary is an excellent collection to anyone’s herb garden.

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