What a stupid title. Some days, I just don’t have it.
I’m chronicling my fall garden tasks and since rosemary is one of my top two flavors (the other being garlic), I always take care of my rosemary plants.
I live in Minnesota. Global warming (or marketing gimmicks) have pushed the Minneapolis/St. Paul gardening climate into definitive zone 4 and even zone 5 according to some. I, in the hinterlands of Watertown, down in my deep hidey-hole, am a committed zone 3 gardener. It’s just plain colder here. Plus, I hate buying plants that don’t make it through a marginal winter. Some talk about micro-climates. Well, I live in a ass-freezing macro climate of cold. So that’s why I have to take special pains with my rosemary.
Rosemary can take a bit of frost, no problem, but I don’t push it too far. We’ve had two frosts so far, one was a pretty good killing frost for almost everything: beans, pumpkin & squash vines, tomatoes, cucumbers, edamame)
…The hardiest garden dwellers live on: chard, kale, carrots, parsnips, cilantro, sage, beets, raspberries, even my strawberries still look okay.
So, this weekend, I figured it was time to start digging stuff out. First on the list: Rosemary and Lantana. I fear I might be too late with the Lantana, since frost nicked the tops pretty bad in that first frost. When I’m done, I will still need to dig the sage and the thyme. I shouldn’t have to bother with thyme since it’s “hardy” (ha!) Sometimes my thyme makes it through, but it always looks horrible, so I just dig it out to be safe.
For the record. I have a single pane glass greenhouse which is totally useless in the winter, unless you happen to have money dripping off trees and don’t mind 80% of your heating dollars melting away through the glass. I use it as long as I can without heating. When the subzero temps threaten, I drag all these pots of herbs into the dark barn, which doesn’t dip below 32 degrees, but hovers somewhere around 40. I stop watering and basically just leave them alone for a month or two, with the exception of scooping out the inevitable barn-cat poop that appears magically sometime during January.
When the sub zero temps are mostly past, I haul them back into the sunlight, cut them back and begin to water. I’ve been doing this for years with pots of rosemary and sage. You could do it in a basement, too.
One thing that has never worked for me, though, is keeping rosemary in my house. Honestly, I just can’t do it. Sometimes, when my pots burst into flower during February or March, I will bring them into the house to enjoy, but I have seriously almost killed them in just a couple weeks. I have no idea why. Maybe I’m cursed.
Anyway, while digging out the rosemary, I noticed that one of the plants had long, drooping branches that touched the ground. Where they touched the ground, they took root and made it difficult to dig out and put into a pot.
Being an opportunist, I decided to take advantage of this. It’s the same concept as deliberate layering — a complicated process to propagate plants and some woody shrubs which always eluded me up until now. But here, I’m a better gardener than I thought! (Take that, smug people who can keep rosemary alive in their houses!) I layered my rosemary! Which is really nothing more that pushing a branch down into the dirt and letting it root, then cutting it off the main plant and potting it up.
So that’s what I did.
Now we’ll see if I can remember to water the little pains-in-the-ass.