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Lovage makes a striking accent in any garden, especially when it flowers. It is an umbelliferous plant in the family Apiaceae, which makes it a cousin of the carrot. But this herb is a massive perennial plant that grows 1.8–2.5m (6–8') in a single season. Use the leaves in salads or to make soup or season broths. The flavour is distinctly celery-like. Even the root can be eaten as a vegetable or grated into salads. Give it a corner in your vegetable or herb garden, but one or two plants will be ample. We recommend allowing the plants to bloom, as their flower heads are attractive to a wide range of predatory and beneficial insects. The flowers are followed by seeds that can be harvested and used as a spice, with a flavour similar to fennel seeds.
Lovage is deer resistant, and an important companion plant for the vegetable garden.
Start indoors in spring or direct sow in the fall. If starting indoors, try to maintain a soil temperature of 15°C (60°F). Once seedlings are big enough to handle, harden them off before transplanting to the garden.
Sow seeds 5mm (¼”) deep, three or four seeds per pot, and thin to the strongest seedling. Germination takes 10-14 days. Keep soil moist until they are established, and transplant out at least 60cm (24″) apart.
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