Lovin’ Lovage

Young Lovage Plant just started in the greenhouse

Yes Lovage is a plant.  Grown for centuries, but not very well-known that long!  Lovage has always reminded me of celery.  The smell, taste,  even they way it looks.    When used infused in soups it will give them a creamy taste, adding a nice rich flavor.   My favorite is to add it to our morning carrot juice or even tomato-based drinks.  The Leaves, stems and all.  Using the small inner leaves for salads will get you hooked!  Lovage seeds can be used to garnish food.  The seeds are great as a bread/roll topper instead of poppy-seed or caraway.

I grow lovage in my greenhouse so I can have something fresh all winter.  I have grown it outside, but our winters a cold enough to stop the growth or even cause die back, but it is hardy so it will generally return come warmer days.  A cold frame works well to grow lovage in during the cold months.  Lovage is a perennial that enjoys relief from the afternoon sun so it won’t get sunscald. One clump can spread 3 feet and launch towers of flower stalks, so give it some space.  When planting lovage will appreciate a little prep to the soil.  Add a shovel full of compost and a handful of kelp meal to the planting hole and mix with the existing earth.

When starting lovage from seed, use fresh seed.  Seed that is less than two years old.  Use a soil-less soil mix.  Fill the pots with the moist potting mix up to 1″ from the top of the pot.  Place two or three seeds into each pot and cover with 1/4-inch of soil.  If you’re not growing in a greenhouse you can cover the pot with plastic wrap and give it some bottom heat.  Once the seeds germinate in about 12 days, (it can take up to three weeks) remove the plastic and give the little plants sunlight for at least 8 hours a day or supplement with a grow light.  Once it is about 4-5 inches tall it can be transplanted to its permanent spot.

Most insects steer clear of lovage, but leaf miners can be a problem at times.  They tunnel through the leaves and that makes it hard to spray.  If the problem gets to bad, you can just simply cut back away the leaves and they will grow again.

Heat Matt , Kelp Meal

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Filed under Gardening, Herbs

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