Typically grown in the sun, Rosemary’s fragrant leaves have a Mediterranean scent and are available all year round. When we lived in Spain, rosemary along with other herbs grew wild in the hills surrounding our villa.
A variety of foods can be flavoured with fresh or dried leaves, while sprigs steeped in olive oil add a distinctive taste. Digestion is said to be improved by making tea using chopped leaves steeped in boiling water.
It is best to start Rosemary in the spring from ready-grown plants. It is best to plant in a sunny and well-drained location – plants dislike wet roots in the winter. If you prefer, you can use soil-based compost or multipurpose compost in large containers.
The plants are relatively drought-tolerant, but they need regular watering during dry summers, mainly if they’re in containers. A balanced fertiliser should be applied to container plants once they’ve finished flowering.
It might be a good idea to give your plants some protection in colder climates and harsh winters. For example, plants in containers can be protected by raising them onto pot feet.
Mulch is a layer of material applied to the soil surface in late autumn to late winter (November through February) that is at least 5cm (2in) thick. The purpose of mulching is to provide frost protection, enhance plant growth by adding nutrients or increasing organic matter content, reduce water loss from the soil for decorative purposes and suppress weed growth. Some examples are well-rotted garden compost and manure, chipped bark, gravel, grit, and slate chippings.
Mulch the ground around plants and cover the branches with Horticultural fleece sheets. These, along with lots of other crop protection items are available from Gardening Naturally. (We are not affiliated with them – we just buy our stuff from them).
The material is soft, fibrous, translucent, and is used as a crop cover. Over or around vulnerable plants, fleece protects them from the weather (heavier grades of fleece give about 2°C of protection from frost), pests, and helps the plants grow by keeping the soil warm.
After the blooms fade, cut back the stems to keep plants compact; otherwise, they will become leggy.
Since Rosemary is evergreen, it can be harvested all year long, but the soft new growth in summer has the best flavour. Attempt to maintain an attractive shape to the plant by snipping off the shoots as needed.
You can use the leaves of your rosemary fresh, or dry them for later use.
During the drying process, rosemary sprigs should be hung in a warm, dark place with adequate ventilation. The leaves should be stripped and stored in an airtight jar after they have been thoroughly dried.
Damage from frost
Frosts can damage growth, resulting in death or distortion of the plant.
If frost is predicted, remove any damaged growth and cover the bed with horticultural fleece.
A yellow hemispherical scale appears on the undersides of leaves and along the midrib. As a result, honeydew is secreted by them, which promotes the growth of sooty mould.
Biocontrols should be used in greenhouses.
There is a problem with the small oval beetle with metallic green and purple stripes and its greyish white larvae. This pest can be found in large numbers on plants, where it will quickly strip leaves from stems.
Pick off the pesky little insects by hand and check your plants regularly.
Would you like some great recipes using this great herb? Check out 39 delicious things to do with rosemary, on BuzzFeed
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