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Growing Herbs – Rosemary

Growing Herbs - Rosemary

Rosemary is one of my must-grow herbs for the garden.  I have found it to be very hardy, it requires very little attention or care. It is available for use all year around once it is established.  It is a perfect herb to have on hand as it will always be available to add a little warmth and freshness to a meal when there is not much else available in the garden.  I love the fresh, crisp strong smell of Rosemary, it smells clean. 

Rosemary is said to have been sacred to the Romans and Greeks and was seen as a symbol of love and death. It was used at both weddings and funerals based on it’s association with faithfulness and constancy – this is assumed to be the origin of it’s association with “remembrance”.

*Rosemary was used in ancient times as a safeguard against contagion. It has antiseptic qualities and was considered by the French as a universal panacea. A tea made from Rosemary is said to be useful after the consumption of a fatty meal as it aids fat digestion.

Other properties attributed to Rosemary are:

  • muscular and circulatory problems
  • liver problems
  • heart tonic
  • tonic for the hair and scalp – make a tea and using it as a rinse
  • mental and physical tiredness

When I was studying at university I regularly used rosemary essential oil, in an oil burner, to aid memory retention. I added a drop to a handkerchief on exam day to assist recall what I had studied. I can not say if it can be attribute to my exam results but I did find the smell comforting and strengthening in an exam situation.

*This information is not medical advice. It is simply a summary of some of the properties that have been documented and attributed to this herb, coupled with my own experience and Aromatherapy training.

Plant it:

It is recommended that Rosemary be planted into the ground around October if establishing a new plant.

Rosemary (Rosemarinus Officinalis) is an evergreen shrub that grows up to two meters in height, it is part of the Lamiaceae plant family – the same family as Mint, Sage, Basil, Thyme, and Lavender.

Rosemary grows best in sandy, light soils. It does not like to be water logged in a heavy soil. A plant can be productive for 30 + years.

It should not be planted near potatoes if you follow companion planting principles in your garden.

Grow it:

Rosemary can be grown from a cutting (taken in Spring), or from seed.

This herb will grow well in a pot and can also be trimmed to shape. Due to the size this plant can grow you will need to ensure that if you do plant it in a pot that it is large enough to allow for growth.

Cut the plant back after flowering. This promotes new growth and prevents the plant from getting too woody.

I have not experienced any issues with pests on this herb.

It is a hardy plant, drought resistant and forgiving.  I even managed to grow it near gum trees at our previous home. It grew at a much slower rate than I am now used to but it did provide adequate foliage for use year round regardless. This plant shown below is in my herb patch now and was taken from the plant at our previous home.

Grow Rosemary

Eat it:

The strong herbaceous fragrance of Rosemary works well when combined with lamb, beef and potatoes. It can be added to oils, vinegars and salt. The leaves of the plant are a little tough.  If they are not finely chopped they may be removed from a dish prior to serving (although this is not something I have ever worried about….)

The leaves dry and store well. After cutting back dry on a tray in the sun and store in an airtight container. Or oven dry at a very low heat for about 40 min to 1 hour . This is a good option if you are wanting to dry the leaves in the cooler months of the year.

The pretty little purple/blue flowers may also be eaten.

When I was planning this post I realised that I few recipes where Rosemary is the “hero”, despite the fact that I use it often. As a result, this week I baked some Rosemary Salted Water Crackers, the perfect way to let this herb shine.

Some other recipes that we enjoy including this herb in are:

I made a batch or Rosemary Salt yesterday that I will use on baked potatoes and in winter slow cooking over the coming months.

Rosemary Salt

References:

  • Organic Gardening in Australia – P Pears (ed.), Dorling Kindersley, Camberwell, 2006
  • The Australian Gardening Encyclopedia, Murdoch Books, Millers Point, 2004
  • Aromatherapy, D Ryman, Piatkus, London, 1992
  • The Book of Herbs, D Hall, Angus and Robertson, Sydney, 1975
  • Culpeper’s Complete Herbal, Wordsworth Reference, Hertfordshire, 1995

Do you grow Rosemary? What is your favorite way to use it? 

I would love to know if there are other herbs you would like me to write about?

To date I have written:

Growing Herbs – Thyme

Growing Herbs – Basil

Kyrstie

 

 

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{ 7 comments… add one }
  • Amanda April 26, 2013, 9:17 am

    I always plant rosemary in every house I live in. We have been on our small farm for over 10 years and I currently have 4 rosemary hedges in the garden, plus some of the prostrate variety – so I guess you could say I’m a fan. And so are the bees – they go mad for it!

  • Miss Piggy April 26, 2013, 11:49 am

    I have SO much rosemary from this bush – which is my third attempt at growing the stuff. My first attempt was from seed which was a total failure. I like the idea of the rosemary salt…is it simply just mixing the two together? Your pasta sounds delish! Exactly what I need to use up some of my rosemary.

    • Kyrstie Barcak October 16, 2013, 11:36 am

      I dry the Rosemary and give it a little pond with the mortar and pestle and then combine with pink salt flakes 🙂

  • Lizzy (Good Things) April 27, 2013, 11:45 pm

    Love this article, Kyrstie.

  • Lee May 1, 2013, 7:54 pm

    I first planted Rosemary for the scent and because it is a hardy plant and does not require a lot of watering. It was an added bonus that it can be used in cooking.
    I have to say thanks for the different recipe ideas for Rosemary. I am especially keen to try the Rosemary Salted Water Crackers or rather get my husband to make them as he does all the cooking in our house.
    Another plant I have and which appears to be growing in popularity is the pomegranate. Do you have any recipe ideas for pomegranates?

    • Kyrstie May 1, 2013, 8:53 pm

      Hi Lee,
      I am very jealous that your husband cooks! I have to admit that I have never used pomegranate but it is at the top of my list of things to try. To date, sorry I have not published any recipes using it. Stay tuned 🙂 Kyrstie

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