Many scents bring back fond memories. Growing sage brings the opportunity home of making holiday dinners your family will remember. With the cost of herbs rising at the grocery store, planting your own herb garden is a decision that makes sense. An added bonus is using fresh ingredients in the meals you serve. All the savings you earn gardening, leaves you a surplus of time and money to put back into your garden.
Sage, Salvia Officinalis, has a long memory that goes back to the ancient Romans who thought growing sage imparted wisdom and improved mental sharpness. Maybe that is the reason we never forget foods cooked with sage!
Sage is a hardy perennial that can live up to five years. This herb is a native to the Mediterranean, and tends to grow well in most soils. It prefers rather dry and sunny areas. The growing sage needs watering once a week. It is advisable to water more often during the summer if you live in a hot climate.
Sow herb seed indoors within ten weeks of the scheduled outside planting. Water the seeds with warm water.
When the seeds germinate, plant the seedlings where it will receive full sun. When growing sage, it requires temperatures of 65F degrees. Water the soil slightly damp.
The seedlings need a bed of well-drained soil. Work in a handful of bone meal twice during the summer for the growing sage.
The fastest way to start growing sage is to purchase in pots from the garden center. After the danger of frost has past, in one quick stop at the garden shop, you can have sage in the bag! This might take away the fun of getting your hands dirty, but it is a time saving direction to go. You can plant the store bought sage directly in the garden.
In an area that has a shallow water table, growing sage can be undertaken in raised beds or containers. Protect the plants from extreme weather conditions.
Harvest sage leaves just before the plant starts to flower. To harvest, clip the leaves, leaving about half of the foliage on each branch.
To dry sage, spread the leaves out on a window screen in a ventilated area away from direct sunlight. The dried leaves can be stored in jars or zip-lock storage bags.
When growing sage, you may notice the plants becoming “woody” after a few years. It is time to turn over a new leaf. You can plant from cuttings or start over with seed. If you allow your growing sage plants to flower and set seed, they will self-sow and do the job for you.
Growing sage benefits
The health benefits of growing sage have been handed down to us from ancient wisdom. Sage herbal tea is a safe stimulant that is used to treat many ailments. It also promotes healthy gums and cleans teeth. Sage tea compresses help to get rid of headaches. Cold sage tea helps with hot flashes during menopause for women.
A Thanksgiving feast would not be complete without turkey and dressing flavored with sage. The herb is now used year round in poultry seasoning. The list is endless of foods that are seasoned to perfection with the addition of this tasteful herb.
Every good cook knows a kitchen is not complete without the addition of sage. Do not leave sage out in the cold! Growing sage deserves a spot in every herbal garden.