By: Heather Rhoades
Growing sage (Salvia officinalis) in your garden can be rewarding, especially when it is time to cook a delicious dinner. Wondering how to grow sage? Planting sage is easy.
There are many types of sage plant and not all of them are edible. When choosing a sage plant for your herb garden, choose one such as:
The best place for planting sage is in full sun. Your sage plant should be put in a well draining soil, as sage does not like its roots to remain wet. Sage comes from a hot, dry climate and will grow best in conditions like this.
Planting sage seeds requires patience, as sage seeds are slow to germinate. Scatter the seeds over seed starting soil and cover them with 1/8 inch (3.2 mm) of soil. Keep the soil damp but not soaked. Not all the seeds will germinate and the ones that do may take up to six weeks to germinate.
More commonly, sage is grown from cuttings. In the spring, take softwood cuttings from a mature sage plant. Dip the cut tip of the cutting in rooting hormone, then insert into potting soil. Cover with clear plastic and keep in indirect sunlight until new growth appears on the cutting. At this time you can plant the sage out into your garden.
Now that you know how to grow sage, there is no excuse not to add this delicious herb to your garden. It is a perennial herb that will reward your taste buds for many years after planting sage in your herb garden.
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While you can grow sage in part sun, the most aromatic and healthy sage plant grows in full sunlight. Hence it is essential to place the plant in a position that gets 6-8 hours of direct sunlight daily. If you live in a hot climate, save the plant from the intense afternoon sun, especially in summer.
Most suitable position for growing sage indoors is either South or West facing window. If you don’t receive proper sunlight indoors, use grow lights for this purpose.
Never use regular garden soil for growing sage in pots. Either make your own soilless potting mix or buy it from a garden center or online. Your growing medium should be well-drained and loamy. To enrich it, add 20-25 percent compost to the potting mix.
Water a young and newly transplanted sage plant regularly for the first few weeks until it’s establishing without overdoing it. Once the plant gets an excellent growth and develops a healthy root system, start keeping it on a drier side–Water only when the topsoil seems dry to touch. Avoid overwatering and overhead watering to prevent root rot and diseases like leaf spot and powdery mildew.
Friendship sage is a newer species and thus has yet to have its full potential explored.
The cut flowers make for an attractive gift idea.
Additionally, the ability to thrive in containers gives this sage great versatility as an indoor decorative plant.
Mass planting this sage creates an aromatic and attractive border.
It also works well in both cutting gardens and rock gardens.
Plants kept in outdoor containers create wonderful accents for any patio or deck.
Unfortunately, due to its relatively recent appearance in the United States, there is no firm comparison on the qualities of this sage versus other, more established species.
Thus, it is currently unknown whether or not this new hybrid may be used as a viable substitute for white sage in smudging rituals and incense or a decent seasoning alternative to common sage.
If you want to learn to grow your own food, there’s no better teacher than Ron Finley. Lucky for you, he now offers a MasterClass on gardening—and shared some tips to take to heart.
While California is one of the nation’s leaders in agricultural output, smog-cloaked and concrete-coated Los Angeles is hardly considered representative of the Golden State’s verdancy. But don’t tell that to South Central L.A. native Ron Finley, who in 2010 embarked on a guerrilla gardening project by growing food on the humble strip of soil sitting adjacent to the sidewalk in front of his house. Despite objection from local authorities, Finley persevered with his groundbreaking initiative and the legend of the Gangsta Gardener was born.
Over the past decade, Finley’s “if you can grow it there, you can grow it anywhere” message has earned him legions of fans (his TED Talk on the subject has over 3.6 million views) and his lobbying efforts have resulted in laxer attitudes and legislation towards urban farming in public spaces.
Last month, Finley offered up his green thumb and brilliant mind to MasterClass , the virtual classroom where luminaries ranging from Thomas Keller to Margaret Atwood provide in-depth instruction in their respective field of expertise.
It goes without saying that a MasterClass in gardening from Finley could not have arrived at a better time. With a surplus of boredom, isolation, and a shrinking grocery budget (if you can even manage to schedule a delivery), the concept of DIYing your dinner is having a real moment right now. Finley’s tutorials , however, go well beyond simply growing herbs and sweet potatoes.
During a recent conservation we discussed his thoughts on the importance of taking gardening into your own hands and how it will change your life and the world at large. Below you’ll find some of Finley’s signature seeds of wisdom.
When I mentioned to Finley my family’s recent foray into indoor herb gardening I foolishly expected him to validate this self-perceived achievement. Instead, he responded incredulously “What took you so long?”
Finley’s point is well taken. Growing your own food shouldn’t feel like a necessary chore to undertake just because times got tough. It serves you well both physically and mentally regardless of a global pandemic. “I’ve seen people change their whole lives once they garden,” says Finley who adds that through his work he has become an urban sociologist, anthropologist, and psychologist. “This ain’t no damn hobby. This is life.”
“First and foremost, you need healthy, vibrant, rich, nutritious soil,” says Finley.
While it’s tempting to grab whatever earth you see lying around outside to get your garden started , it really is best to invest in soil. Consider what you want to grow and do the appropriate research. For example, aloe vera will thrive in a sandy environment, but basil is going to need more loam.
Whatever soil you work with, Finley offers many tips on how to improve its quality in his MasterClass and it all starts with compost.
“When you make compost, you realize nothing ever dies,” he says. Any scrap of organic matter is capable of creating more organic matter, and his particular methodologies will have your garden blooming in no time. Which leads to Finley’s next valuable insight…
Finley’s instruction takes pragmatic to the next level. “I want people to realize that there are resources all around us and they don’t have to cost money,” he stresses.