Planting & Care
Planting: In early spring, sow seeds an inch apart in fine seed starting mix. Cover seeds very lightly with mix and cover container with plastic wrap, providing humidity and warmth. Maintain at 60 - 70°F and provide a strong light source. Keep evenly moist but not soggy. Be patient, these small perennial seeds germinate slowly over 3 weeks. Lift plastic to water. Remove plastic as soon as seeds germinate. When they have several sets of leaves, transplant seedligns into individual 4 - 6" pots so root systems have room to develop. When all danger of frost has past, plant 2½ - 3' 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" pot).
Growing: 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 - 10), where winters are mild and the ground doesn't freeze. Rosemary will grow happily over several years into a big 3 - 4' shrub. In cold winter climates (zones 3 - 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 & 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.