Endless culinary uses and easy to grow from seed.
The name sage comes from the Latin verb salvere, meaning to heal. The plant is said to be able to heal almost everything. But the word sage also refers to wisdom, especially the wisdom of age. "Some ask how Man can die where thou dost grow," wrote Sir John Harington in 1607. The name betokens wise and saving, we count it nature's friend and worth the having. Grow with sage by your side in the garden. It will return each spring to the garden just like you: older, wiser, and more generous.
If the idea of growing perennial herbs from seed intimidates you, don't be shy of sage. It is extremely easy to grow, and puts on a lot of growth in the first year. In the second year, it will delight you with beautiful purplish-pink flowers.
The culinary uses are endless: fried sage on roasted squash, mixed in with soups and pastas, delicious with caramelized onions on pizza the possibilities go on and on. Just a few plants will provide enough sage to eat fresh and dry for an entire year.
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Start indoors 6-8 weeks before last frost. Sow 1-2 seeds per pot. Keep soil moist but not wet until seeds have germinated. Then, prevent sprouts from damping off by being sure not to over-water them. When seedlings have 1-2 sets of leaves, thin to 1 per pot. Transplant outdoors when there are 1-2 sets of true leaves. Sage prefers full sun and well drained soil. You can prune plants in the fall after all the leaves are gone or dried, but this is not necessary. It is normal for a few plants to die over the winter in areas with cold winters, so protect with mulch. Also does well in containers. Sage prefers full sun and well-drained soil. Sage is a short lived perennial that lasts 3-5 years.
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Art by Kristin Flynn. Kristin reveals the sage plant in its many dimensions. Its tall stems wander in diagonals, true to their habit, and its pretty flowers jut out above a watery scene. The fuzzy, substantial leaves come alive in an accurate gray-green tone.