Growing Summer Savory Herb Indoors This Season
Growing summer savory (Satureja hortensis) is a cherished herb in Atlantic Canada, renowned for its delightful sweet taste and aromatic qualities. This hardy herb can thrive in various climates and temperatures, making it a versatile addition to any garden. As a member of the mint plant family, summer savory is primarily known for its culinary uses.
Types of Savory and Their Uses There are two main types of savory: winter and summer savory. While winter savory is perennial and can grow year after year, summer savory is an annual herb, needing to be replanted each year. Summer savory is the preferred choice for enhancing sausages and dishes due to its sweeter and more dedicated aroma. If you’re new to gardening, it’s best to start with summer savory, as it’s relatively easy to cultivate, requiring standard room temperature (around 25 degrees Celsius), rich soil, and a minimum of 6 hours of direct sunlight each day.
Growing Summer Savory Herb
Planting and growing summer savory is a rewarding endeavor, and it can thrive indoors when placed on a sunny windowsill. Here’s how to cultivate summer savory in your home, yard, or garden, along with some essential tips:
- Starting from Seeds: Begin by growing summer savory from seeds. You can plant the seeds outdoors in a sunny spot after the last frost has passed or start them indoors in late winter.
- Planting Depth: Sow the seeds approximately 1/8 inch deep in the soil, keeping them about 4 inches apart.
- Harvesting: Wait until the plants reach a height of 6 inches before you start harvesting the leaves for sausages or cooking. Since summer savory is an annual plant, remember to replant it each year. At the end of the season, you can harvest the entire plant, both the tender and woody parts, and dry them for use during the winter.
Additional Tips for Successful Growth
- Container Gardening: You don’t need a large yard to grow summer savory. Both summer and winter savory can thrive in small containers, with an 8-inch-wide and 8-inch-deep container being suitable. You can even grow summer savory in hanging baskets or pots.
- Environmental Conditions: Summer savory should be sown in early April and thrives in sunny locations. Keep in mind that it will not tolerate frost.
- Temperature: Seed germination typically takes 2-3 weeks at temperatures between 18 to 20°C (65 to 70°F).
- Pest and Disease Control: Savory is generally free of serious pest and disease issues, reducing the need for pest control measures.
- Soil Requirements: Summer savory prefers organically rich soil that is slightly alkaline.
- Storing and Preserving: You can use the leaves fresh, freeze them, or dry them. Store dried leaves in an airtight container to maintain their flavor.
Culinary and Medicinal Uses of Savory
Growing summer savory (Satureja hortensis) is a cherished herb in Atlantic Canada, renowned for its delightful sweet taste and aromatic qualities. This hardy herb can thrive in various climates and temperatures, making it a versatile addition to any garden. As a member of the mint plant family, growing summer savory herb is primarily known for its culinary uses. Summer savory’s sweet-spicy flavor can enhance a variety of dishes, including fish, vegetables, poultry, green beans, eggs, and meats. It can also substitute for sage in Canadian recipes like cretonnade.
Medicinally, both summer and winter savory have a history of use in digestive remedies and for treating various ailments. Active ingredients in savory include p-cymene, carvacrol, and tannins, making it an astringent and mild antiseptic.
- A sprig of savory can provide instant relief for bee stings.
- Savory tea has numerous health benefits, such as alleviating diarrhea, sore throats, nausea, and menstrual disorders.
- Savory herb ointment, popular in some countries, is effective in relieving minor rashes and skin irritations.
Precautions: While savory is generally considered safe in small amounts, it’s advisable to consult a healthcare professional before using summer savory or any herbal products, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, or taking medications. It’s better to err on the side of caution for your well-being.