A tender perennial shrub, rosemary is used to flavor many meat and vegetable dishes. The flavor is a little minty with a hint of pine and ginger. Thick, needle-like grayish-green leaves can be used crushed or chopped in your favorite recipes. Dried leaves and pale blue flowers can be used for making sachets. To store for later use, cut 4-5" pieces from the ends of the branches and store in the freezer. Frozen rosemary is stronger than fresh so adjust your recipes accordingly.
For centuries, people believed that a rosemary bush would never grow more than 6 feet in 33 years so it would not stand taller than Christ. In the Middle Ages, people often placed sprigs of rosemary under their pillows to ward off evil spirits and bad dreams. Rosemary is a symbol of remembrance, friendship and love. During the 14th and 15th centuries, rosemary branches were burned in homes to ward off the black death and even during World War II, rosemary and juniper berries were burned in hospitals in France to kill germs. Rosemary is used in sachets and as a culinary herb. It is said to clear the head, so carry a sprig in your pocket on days when mental clarity is especially important (interviews, exams, meetings).
When harvesting rosemary, do not remove more than 20% of the growth at any one time. Take the tip cuttings you need to flavor your recipes, but don't cut the woody branches. Cutting these may irreversibly damage the plant. When you are ready to dry your rosemary, you should cut the sprigs in the early morning. Tie a few together and hang in a warm, dry place. When completely dry, store in plastic bags or jars. You can strip the leaves off the stems or keep them intact to add to a pan while cooking, then remove the stem before serving. The stems, if tough enough, also make excellent skewers for meats and vegetables on the grill, so if you strip the leaves before storing, save the stems also.
Companions to -- Many of the cabbage family, sage, beans and carrots
Avoid planting by -- Strawberries
Spacing -- 36 - 72" apart
Exposure -- Full Sun
Mature Size -- 75 days
Feature -- Spicy Aromatic
Soil pH -- 5.0 to 6.0
Water Usage -- Low
Time to plant in garden -- When danger of frost has passed
Growing Tips -- Plant in full sun and well-drained soil. Once established, too much water or fertilizer will cause woody, brittle branches that will break easily. Definitely keep on the dry side and only water if the plant looks wilty during drought periods. Plant where you'll be likely to rub up against it, releasing the wonderful aroma into your garden!
Fertilizer -- 5-10-5 at recommended rate when planted. Additional feedings are usually not needed.
Helps repel pests? -- Said to repel/deter carrot flies, bean beetles and cabbage moths