BEST TO START INDOORS
In early spring, sow seeds an inch apart in fine seed starting mix. Cover seeds very lightly with mix. Maintain at 70°F (24°C) and provide a strong light source. While awaiting germination, be sure to keep the seed bed moist but not soggy. Be patient: these small seeds germinate very slowly over 1 to 2 months.
When they have several sets of leaves, transplant seedlings into individual 4 to 6 inch pots so root systems have room to develop. When all danger of frost has past, plant 2½ feet apart in well-drained soil in full sun.
To grow in containers, transplant each plant into a pot with at least a 3 gallon capacity (or 12 inch pot).
Like many perennial herbs, rosemary has a naturally low germination rate and grows slowly the first season. Plants thrive in hot, dry conditions and require well drained soil.
In mild climate areas (zones 8 through 10), where winters are mild and the ground doesn’t freeze, Perennial Rosemary plants grow into substantial shrubs in mild climates. In cold winter areas (zones 3 to 7), plant seedlings into large pots to enjoy throughout spring and summer. When weather gets cold and frost threatens, prune plants back heavily and bring pots inside to spend the winter indoors in a cool, well-lit area; water very sparingly while plants are overwintering indoors. In spring, when danger of frost is over and weather is settled, move potted plants back outside to a sunny spot.
HARVEST AND USE
Rosemary’s stiff straight branches make perfect skewers for grilling. Use leaves in marinades combined with lemon, garlic and oil. Stuff a roasting chicken with whole branches and use to season lamb. Sprinkle finely minced rosemary over potatoes; dust on cheese dishes, garlic bread, grilled tomatoes and root vegetables.
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