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Botanical Interests Lovage Seeds

Perennial. Hardy to USDA zone 3. The unique celery-like flavor of this ancient salad herb is essential for the creative cook. It adds tantalizing warmth to many dishes. The hollow stalks are the best straws for tomato juice and Bloody Mary cocktails. Fresh or dried leaves and stems can be added to soups or stews. Seeds can be saved and ground as a salt substitute. The name, Lovage, comes from its medieval reputation as an aphrodisiac. (Be sure to mention that when you tell your grocery store manager that you can?t find it in the produce department!) A vigorous plant that is much larger than celery (up to 3? wide and 6? tall with seed stalk), Lovage grows in shade or sun and is easy to establish in your garden from seed. (Birds, especially goldfinches love the seed heads if they are left standing in fall and winter.) A dozen more ideas for use inside packet.

When to plant outside: Spring, 2-3 weeks before average last spring frost.

When to start inside: Spring, 8-10 weeks before average last spring frost

Special Germination Instructions: Be sure to choose your planting area with care before sowing seed or setting out transplants. Lovage requires a lot of space and well-cared for plants can live up to 20 years!

Harvesting: Lovage?s size can be checked by frequent harvesting or by cutting back periodically. Leaf stalks are best harvested when young and mild-flavored at around 6? , but leaves and stalks can be harvested at any point. To blanch the inner stalks for use as a mild flavored vegetable, bind stems together with string 2-3 weeks before the desired harvest date. To collect seeds for use as a salt substitute or spice, cut off flower heads, sort out seeds, and store in an airtight jar after they are completely dry.

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