Thursday, March 18, 2010

Fertilizer Friday Rosemary

It's Friday, and that means a visit to Fertilizer Friday over at Tootsie Time.
Check out her blog party and see what other people have blooming in their gardens.

It's almost time to start getting the garden going, the snow has all melted, thanks to the heavy rain we got last week, and although it is supposed to be cold again next week, this week has been sunny, warm, and "Springy".

This is the hard time in Michigan. Everyone knows that we will have one more cold snap before Winter is over, it always sneaks up and hits us just when we think Spring is officially here.

It isn't really safe to plant delicate things like tomatoes outside before Memorial Day around here, but we can get a few things going real soon.

In the meantime, I am excited to be able to share some of last years garden with this years friends.

This post, originally appeared on my blog August 22, 2009. The herb of the week was Rosemary. And for the record, once again, our Rosemary did not make it through the winter, and once again we will be replacing it this spring.

Here is my post, as it appeared last summer:

The herb of the week is Rosemary.

Although officially a member of the Mint family, Rosemary, a perennial, evergreen shrub, with needle-like leaves has very little in common with most varieties of mint.

The name Rosemary, has nothing to do with roses, or Mary, but is derived from the Latin, rosmarinus
ros meaning “dew,” and marinus meaning “of the sea”. The name, dew of the sea, presumable came about since it is found growing wild in Mediterranean regions near the sea.

An herb that is not known for its‘ flowers but rather for its’ foliage, Rosemary is planted almost as often for ornamental purposes as for anything else. But despite its’ attractive appearance, it is a very valuable culinary herb. It does flower, generally in the spring, and the flowers are edible as well.

Rosemary is a low maintenance plant, and can actually suffer from too much attention. But there are still a few things you should know to keep your Rosemary plant healthy.

Rosemary can die outside at temperatures below 30 degrees, although I have kept it alive right up until it hit zero. Sub zero temperatures have killed mine every time I tried to keep one through the winter, no matter how much I mulch and try to protect it.

Rosemary will do well indoors, as long as it gets at least 6 hours a day of sunlight, but indoors, there is a danger of powdery mildew forming on the leaves. This is a white powdery fungus that grows if your air is too humid. You can discourage this by letting the soil dry completely between waterings, and keeping a small fan running to provide air circulation.

Powdery mildew will not kill your plant, but it will make it weak, and of course, nobody wants Rosemary and powdery mildew flavored roasted chicken.

It is difficult to grow Rosemary from seed, and you will have more luck with either cuttings or nursery transplants.

Rosemary likes sunlight, air and good drainage. 6-8 hours of full sun a day is ideal.

If you have a climate that will allow you to grow Rosemary outdoors year round, plant your Rosemary in sunlight, with good drainage in a spot where the breeze will blow through it, and where the water won’t pool around the roots.

Rosemary is harvested by simply cutting off a sprig. It can be used fresh or dried, and is good with wild game, chicken, pork, vegetables, or anything else you want to roast. Rosemary does not shrink much when drying, so it is one of the few herbs that you use the same measurement for, whether using fresh, or dried. Having said that, should you choose to powder, or crush your dried leaves, one teaspoon of powdered Rosemary equals two teaspoons of crushed Rosemary.

Freeze whole sprigs of Rosemary. When you need some, slide your thumb and index finger down a sprig, taking off as many leaves as you need. Remember, frozen Rosemary is stronger than fresh

Fresh leaves can be added whole, or chopped coarsely. If using whole leaves you may want to mash them a bit with a mortar and pestle, or if you don’t have one, put them inside a Ziploc back, unzipped, and run your rolling pin over them a few times, to release the oils.

After you have used all the leaves, the twigs can be soaked in water and placed on your coals next time you light up the grill, to add a smoky Rosemary flavor to your food.

A 2-4 inch sprig of Rosemary added to a pot of tea will liven the tea, while the same size sprig added to a pitcher of lemonade will give it a flavor burst that makes it even more refreshing.

Equal parts Rosemary leaves and olive oil, with a dash or hint of soy sauce, makes a good glaze when grilling meats or vegetables.

Mix 1 T each Rosemary, Marjoram, Sage, Olive Oil, And 1 C white wine, for a marinade for meats.

Marinate eggplant “steaks” in this overnight and lay them on the grill for a special treat. Add Rosemary with butter, salt and pepper to flavor baked potatoes.

Rosemary is especially appealing to those on a low sodium diet, as the robust flavor will often reduce the need for added salt.

Besides a culinary herb, Rosemary has many medicinal qualities. It is rich in anti-oxidants and has antibacterial properties as well. Rosemary wine can boost the circulation and nervous systems, while Rosemary tea is used for treating colds, headaches and nervous disorders as well as treating muscle cramps and calming nerves. An emulsion made from Rosemary oil and hot water, when gargled will help a sore throat.
CAUTION: When Rosemary is used as a tea, the dose should not exceed one cup per day. Overdose can cause fatal poisoning.

Laboratory studies in Europe have shown that Rosemary contains chemicals called quinones, which have cancer prevention properties. The studies show that oil from the leaves of the Rosemary plant can help prevent the development of cancerous tumors in laboratory animals. It is quite possible that this applies to humans as well, though the studies have not yet confirmed this.

It has long been believed that Rosemary would help the memory. Shakespeare made reference to this in Hamlet.
In ancient Greece, students wore Rosemary garlands while studying for exams believing it improved their memory.

In superstition and folklore, Rosemary has long been associated with memory or remembrance. At one time Rosemary was used in almost every wedding ceremony. Brides wore wreaths woven with sprigs of Rosemary dipped in scented waters, or they carried Rosemary in their bouquets. At funerals mourners tossed fresh sprigs into the grave as a sign that the life of the departed would not be forgotten. Tapping a fresh sprig of Rosemary against the finger of a loved one was supposed to secure his or her affection. Even today, an offering of Rosemary signifies love, friendship, and remembrance

The folklore doesn’t end there though. For centuries people thought that a Rosemary plant would grow no higher than 6 feet in 33 years so as not to stand taller than Christ. Another story tells that the flowers were originally white but changed to blue when the Virgin Mary hung her cloak on a bush while fleeing from Herod's soldiers with the Christ child. Rosemary possessed powers of protection against evil spirits, or so people thought. In the Middle Ages, men and women would place sprigs under their pillows to ward off demons and prevent bad dreams.

In magic, Rosemary when burned, is believed to emit powerful cleansing and purifying vibrations, and so is smoldered to rid a place of negativity, especially prior to performing magic. It is one of the oldest incenses. It is burned for protection, exorcism, purification, healing, to cause sleep, To restore or maintain youth; to bring love and to increase intellectual powers. Rosemary infusion is used to wash the hands before healing work, and the leaves mixed with juniper berries are burned in sickrooms to promote healing

Rosemary is also thought to be a protective herb. It can be made into a protection wreath, and can be placed above the door or under the bed for protection from evil. Try it in a dream pillow or put it in a pillowcase to protect and ward off bad dreams.

Lastly, and not surprisingly, the fragrance of Rosemary is said to be of benefit as far as emotional spirit, youthful outlook, and pleasant memories. Use it in potpourris and sachets for this purpose.

I grow it because I like the way it smells after a rainstorm, when the sun hits it, and I like to add some when I am grilling chicken. But with all these other uses, I see Rosemary being a more widely used herb for me in the future.

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Be sure and join me each Tuesday for Tuesday Trivia Tie-in, where readers are invited to share trivia and show off their treasures.

Read all about it here


  1. I love the smell of rosemary, one of my favorite herbs and with chicken it is divine! I will have to try to grow some herbs this year. I may be asking for help!!!!

  2. Salmon and rosemary! Yummy!
    Troy thanks for the great piece about 60s built houses and reason why they had big yards1 My parents had a big yard with a clothes line and garden! DUH!

  3. I received some rosemary last week from a friend and wondered about growing thanks! Can rosemary be grown from cuttings?

  4. I love my rosemary plants as well, interesting folklore here.

  5. Sounds like it is a waste not want not type of plant - you can even use the twigs when the little leaves are used up! How great is that!!! Soon it will be planting time in our fair State. I do hear on the news that we may expect a little snow this weekend, so hold off on major planting, eh?

  6. That's interesting about it being associated with memory. So maybe it did have to do with Mary after all - maybe there was a forgetful Mary. LOL And maybe I should be using more of it.
    As always very interesting and informative Troy.

  7. I love rosemary! I am proud to have learned so much about it today! Thank you so much, now if I can just remember it!! Guess, I need more rosemary!

  8. Hi there, thanks for the visit and your nice comment about my contract son :-) Also, appreciated you getting back to me regarding the rosemary...I will have to experiment ;-).

  9. well after reading that...I think I might need to get my butt in gear and grow me some rosemary!!! wow...what a great post Troy!!! as usual you have taught me some very interesting trivia!!! Thanks for the lesson and for linking in again this week. I am so excited to see what you share when you can show off in the garden....I am getting impatient here...and I know how you feel knowing that the cold will be back for one last kick at the cat!

  10. Hi
    First time here from Stephanie's blog..nice space and love to read about rosemary..I do use in my cooking, not much..

    cheers and do visit my blog if you can