Consider including sage as a hearty, tasty and fun perennial in your garden

what does young sage look like?

When I first started vegetable and herb gardening, I struggled to find images to help me identify plants looked like before they were mature or harvested to know what to weed out. We'll try to provide photo journals from seedlings to harvest on this blog in the future. That was the prime reason for setting up the pictures feature (yet to be populated - check back next week).

Sage is a plant and herb that anyone can learn to appreciate. It’s pretty in a landscape with its green/grey leaves and delicate purple flowers it displays during a decent part of the season. It also tastes great, smells wonderful and survives through tough conditions once it’s established.

How can you use sage?

I’ve learned to appreciate sage fresh in recipes not ordinarily associated with this herb – like salads and eggs. It adds a delightful flavor and texture to a raw green and vegetable mix. Experience the delicious zest it adds to omelets or a scrambled concoction (I like to combine it with thyme, mushrooms and little bit of Swiss cheese – talk about a mouthful of tantalizing flavors that combine for an exciting new experience).

Sage provides a festive aroma when dried and burned during the holidays. It’s also been purported for eons as a cleansing agent for groups, spaces (rooms) and people – removing old energy and inviting the new.

Growing sage in your garden

sage is a great herb in Zone 5 for Halcyon Acres

Three feet of snow at Halcyon Acres didn't deter the hearty sage plant from staying fresh.

The great news is, it’s easy to grow. We touched on this in our growing herbs blog post, but I wanted to offer a spotlight for this remarkable herb in a stand-alone post.

While it’s relatively easy to start indoors during cold winter months (we’re in Zone 5 here) for spring planting, the gestation period is fairly long, so don’t get disappointed if you’re not seeing shoots after a week or two or three of watching. At Halcyon Acres®, we’ve had good luck starting seeds indoors in the ‘green houses’ you can buy at farm supply stores (they run about $100, but you can get them on sale for $50) that stand about five feet high with four or five shelves, have a zippered translucent plastic woven cover and measure about three feet wide by two feet deep. We use grow lamps with covers to focus the heat and light close to the soil surface and keep the cover closed for a few weeks (the seedlings seem to like humidity) with no need to water after an initial spritzing.

Once you have a couple of good leaves showing, it’s fine to start acclimating the plants to the outdoors, adding an hour or so each day (unless you have a cold frame set up – they’ll usually survive fine here), provided frost is no longer a concern.

Once you put it in the garden and get the roots established, there’s little that will kill a healthy sage plant. It’s not invasive and occupies a relatively small space even at full maturity. It lives great with crops that shade sunlight from the soil (like strawberries or oregano).

Enjoying the hearty nature and health benefits of sage

Sage is also one of these herbs you can enjoy year-round – even in snow belts. Leaves often stay hearty and fresh under snow cover. They’ll survive a hard frost. Plants thrive relatively early in the spring season.

It’s so much fun to have these plants around as you enjoy the scent wafting around during the summer season, dig through snow to find fresh delights in the winter and enjoy an early harvest in the spring.

Want a perspective from a chef on sage? Check out this post from the Healthy Food and Diet blog for tips on cooking with sage and more.

 

nlevin

Nanette Levin learned the produce practices she uses mostly the hard way over 20 years of experimentation. Hopefully you'll consider this site one of the many good resources that have cropped up to help you avoid mistakes as a new gardener or a more experienced one shifting to chemical-free solutions. There's a lot of free information (concerning plants and horses), but we also offer consultative support for those seeking customized attention.

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6 Responses to Consider including sage as a hearty, tasty and fun perennial in your garden
  1. Chef William
    January 15, 2013 | 1:46 am

    Great advice on how to add this taste herb to our herb gardens. I really like your scrambled egg recipe, I will make it for breakfast tomorrow morning. I think I will replace the Swiss cheese with Muenster (only because I have no Swiss cheese in the house at the moment)I am looking forward to that first bite.
    Chef William recently posted..SageMy Profile

  2. nlevin
    January 15, 2013 | 2:23 am

    I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the mix, Chef William. I’m a big onion fan, so add those too, but didn’t mention that because I recognize some have issues with this item. Thyme and sage together (they really compliment each other in eggs – particularly if you include an equally strong cheese choice, and of course, the right mushrooms have no problem enhancing either) add such a wonderful flavor to eggs. Of course, I like food combinations where each flavor is recognizable – some don’t.

  3. Dorothy
    January 24, 2013 | 6:15 am

    wow thank you for the advice. That herb looks awesome…i should try this one. Thanks again.
    Dorothy recently posted..Lawn Sprinkler Repair Professionals Can Save You StressMy Profile

  4. Minette Riordan
    February 1, 2013 | 1:29 am

    Sage is a pretty plant but not my favorite to cook with. I find it too strong and it should be used with caution unless you really like the flavor! I would like some ideas for other uses than the standard holiday turkey and dressing. How else do you use it?
    Minette Riordan recently posted..How to Live a Creative Life: Advice from Julia CameronMy Profile

    • Laiane
      November 23, 2014 | 5:12 pm

      As far as I am concerned, herbs make the dreffience between a good meal and a great meal. However, purchasing herbs has gotten to be an expensive proposition. Just find them is the first issue, then find Fresh herbs is the next hurtle and finally finding fresh herbs that you can afford is always difficult. Obviously, the answer is to grow your own herbs.Well as good as that sounds, I have tried it before with little or no success. But after reading Growing Herbs Indoors, I can see the mistakes I have made in the past. The author takes you by the hand and give you the vital information to have an herb garden right in your own home. That way you have a constant source of inexpensive, fresh herbs right at your finger tips. She provides relevant information that will make your growing pains a lot less.All in all, this guide provides details how anyone can grow their own herbs successfully.

  5. nlevin
    February 1, 2013 | 1:55 am

    I happen to really like the pungent flavor and smell of sage, so for one that finds it unpleasant, I may not be the best source to answer your question, Minette. It’s wonderful (you don’t need a lot) in eggs (scrambled, omelettes, etc.), salads (finely chopped and distributed lightly and evenly – no need for dressing if you combine this with time and a bit of fresh minced garlic), on top of roasts (mostly just makes the kitchen smell great but does add a bit a flavor to the meat) and as a flavor enhancer with a variety of vegetable dishes where you’re looking to reduce calories with sauces, cheeses and such while making a memorable and fun eating experience that excites the senses.

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