Grow Sage In Your Herb Garden To Symbolize Success – Mother Earth News
Lately, more and more people have begun to realize how limited our “modern” diets have become, both in terms of variety and nutritional value. This awareness has sparked a new and widespread interest in the culinary and therapeutic uses of herbs, these plants which – although little known today – were, barely a generation ago, “guests” of honor on the dinner tables and in the medicine cabinets of our grandparents’ homes. In this regular feature, MOTHER EARTH NEWS examines the availability, cultivation and benefits of our “forgotten” plant foods and remedies and – we hope – helps prevent the loss of another piece of ancient tradition.
The sage plant
An herb of the Labiatae (mint) family and genus Salvia (and therefore not to be confused with the sage range of the western United States, which is a species in the genus Mugwort) – the sage plant is commonly grown as a garden plant. Not many people know, however, that there are a number of reasons why this pretty pungent weed is actually best grown on a windowsill, indoors!
For one thing, a sage houseplant—one that doesn’t experience the kind of chilly nights and cold, rainy days that can stunt growth—will mature quickly and produce tender, delicately scented leaves.
Additionally, since sage is an evergreen perennial, these plants will last for many years in indoor containers where they are unlikely to be disturbed or destroyed, as often happens when herbs are grown in a garden that is plowed. every spring. . (Incidentally, sage plants were once considered barometers of success: as they flourished or wilted, it was believed that their owner’s business would do the same.)
Caring for and Growing Sage in an Indoor Herb Garden
If you decide to grow this gorgeous mint indoors, simply plant several seeds in a five to six inch pot (I use plastic containers, as they tend to hold moisture longer than clay pots ). Then, once the sage has sprouted, cut it down to one or two seedlings in each container.
Fairly rich soil is needed to produce healthy herbs (a little rotten manure or compost mixed with any good soil is fine), and potted plants should be placed on a sunny windowsill. Once the sage shoots are at least four inches tall, occasionally enrich their water with a good liquid plant food used according to its label directions.
In the spring of its second year (and thereafter), sage will produce small bluish-white flowers at the end of each branch. It is enough to pinch the flowers as soon as they appear, in order to avoid the formation of seeds which could interfere with the lush and lovely growth of the leaves of the small shrub.
How to dry sage
Once the plants have reached maturity, they can be harvested up to three or four times a year. To do this, cut the stems of the longest leaves to about six inches and leave the small central shoots intact. (When mowed the grass may look a bit dull for a short time, but just give it some fertilizer and place it on a south or west windowsill and within a few months you will find that it is ready to be harvested again. .)
Then, with small shears, cut the collected leaves from the cut branches, discard the stems and spread the greenery on fabric or paper in dim light. When the leaves are dry and crispy, keep them (whole or crushed) in a container protected from light and air.
Many batches of stuffing, bowl of soup, and sausage patty can be enhanced by adding a pinch or two of this ancient herb. And the Chinese loved sage tea so much that they used to trade the Dutch three pounds of their own famous green tea leaves for a pound of sage!
For more helpful tips on how to grow and use herbs, see How to Grow and Enjoy Bergamot andRefreshing borage herb.