Lovage is an old-world perennial herb that has both culinary and medicinal applications. In this article, I discuss how to grow lovage as a microgreen. However, lovage can also be transplanted into the garden.
Lovage is suitable for USDA Hardiness Zones 3 to 9 gardens but prefers cooler climates over warmer ones. This deciduous perennial dies back to the ground after frost and will reemerge in the spring.
How to Grow Lovage Microgreens
However, this article will focus on growing lovage as a microgreen from seed to harvest. I will show you step-by-step the process.
Lovage is great as a microgreen because of its intense flavor and long harvest time in trays. The flavor profile is a mix of parsley and celery, and a few sprigs will add a lot of flavor to the food.
- How to Grow Lovage Microgreens
- What Is Lovage?
- Health Benefits of Lovage
- Growing Lovage Microgreens Step-By-Step
- Sowing Lovage Seeds
- Germinating Your Lovage Microgreen Seeds
- Placing Lovage Microgreens Under the Lights
- Growing On Lovage Microgreens
- Lovage True Leaf Formation and When to Harvest
- How to Use Lovage Microgreens
- Buying Lovage Microgreen Seed & Supplies
- Do You Have a Pinterest Microgreen Board?
What Is Lovage?
I’m sure many people need to become more familiar with lovage.
Lovage was a common garden plant in pre-pharmacy times because most of the plant could be utilized for culinary and medicinal purposes and only needed to be planted once.
Not only is fresh green lovage used in the kitchen, but it can be dried and used as a spice or tea.
In the garden, lovage grows into a narrow, 6-foot tall plant over the summer. As the taste is a mixture of parsley and celery, the leaves also look like a mixture of flat-leaf parsley and celery tops.
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The stems are more like parsley and can get woody as they mature. The roots of lovage are also utilized in tinctures and poultices.
Health Benefits of Lovage
According to Very Well Health, lovage contains many B complex vitamins and is high in vitamin C.
As mentioned, lovage is common to traditional medicine besides its herbaceous use. In the past, and I assume in today’s traditional medicine, practitioners use lovage to treat UTIs, kidney stones, IBS, malaria (?), sore throats and tonsillitis, rheumatism, gout, boils, and jaundice.
The FDA has recognized lovage use as generally safe to use (GRAS), but there are possible precautions for pregnant women. References are listed at the end of the article.
Growing Lovage Microgreens Step-By-Step
Lovage microgreens are not quick microgreens to grow. But the wait is worthwhile as the microgreens will grow for an extended period in the microgreen tray. Lovage microgreens can also be harvested and dried to use as a spice.
Materials & Equipment
Here is a list of materials and equipment you will need to grow lovage microgreens indoors.
- LED light – a shop light will work. Here are some LED light recommendations.
- Shallow Planting & Watering Tray – the flavor of lovage is very strong, so you will not need to grow too large a tray. The Home Microgreens Tray Set is an excellent choice.
- Potting Mix – lovage grows best on soil. I’m not sure it will grow on mats because of the long germination period. The Home Microgreens Potting Mix is one of the best soils to use. Read the reviews.
- Spray Bottle – a mister to wet the soil before and after spreading the seed (not to water microgreens).
- Seed Spreader – because lovage seeds are rather large and flat, it’s best to use an open-topped cup to spread the seeds evenly. We have a 250 mL measuring cup that I use all the time to spread seeds. Works great!
- Weight – something with some mass to press the seeds into the soil as they germinate. A large book or rock will work, I use barbell weights as they are flat with a low center of gravity and come in many sizes.
- Lovage Seeds – the Home Microgreens Store sells lovage seeds in a variety of sizes.
Sowing Lovage Seeds
Place the potting mix in the planting tray (the tray with holes). Level the soil and tamp it down. The soil level should be at or right below the upper edge of the tray.
Smooth the soil as much as possible. However, this is less important for lovage seeds as they do not roll into depressions in the soil.
Use the spray bottle to wet the surface of the soil. Only wet about 1/4 to 1/3 of the soil profile. There is no need to wet the soil to the bottom of the tray. The extra moisture will only cause problems.
My How to Water Microgreens article has a heading titled Watering Microgreens Before & After Sowing Seeds; follow those instructions to wet the potting mix surface.
Calculate & Measure Out the Seeds Needed
Measure out the amount of lovage seeds you will need. For example, a Home Microgreens Tray will need about 2.2 grams of seed. For a 1010 tray, about 5.4 grams. The rate is 0.059 grams per square inch of tray.
Figure out the area of your tray and multiply that by 0.059 to calculate how my grams of seed you will need.
For reference, a level teaspoon of lovage seed weighs about 1.24 grams. A level Tablespoon is about 4.00 grams.
You can purchase Lovage seeds here.
Place your lovage seeds into whatever container you will use to spread the seeds.
Planting Your Tray with Lovage Seeds
Slowly and carefully spread the lovage seeds evenly across the planting surface of your tray. Of course, the more evenly spaced the seeds, the better.
Lovage seeds are flat and quite large, so much of the potting mix surface will be covered.
Once the seeds are spread on the potting mix, mist them a couple of times with the spray bottle to wet the seeds.
Germinating Your Lovage Microgreen Seeds
Use the Weighted Blackout Method for Lovage
To germinate lovage seeds, we found the weighted blackout method to be the best way. If you are still getting familiar with the method or the blackout period, these two articles will explain the blackout period and how to perform the weighted blackout method.
Lovage seeds take longer than many varieties of microgreens to germinate. In my experience, it takes 5-days for the lovage seeds to germinate. Plus, an additional four days until the lovage microgreens are ready to be placed under lights.
You should check the seeds and potting mix every three or so days for dry spots during these nine days.
Be very careful.
Lovage seeds and germinating plants will stick to the top of the cover. So lift the clover slowly and carefully and brush back any seeds or seedlings that stick to the surface of the cover.
Use the spray bottle to mist the tray if you find light-colored spots that may be dry.
Placing Lovage Microgreens Under the Lights
When to Take Lovage Microgreens Out of Blackout
Remove lovage microgreens from the blackout period when they look similar to the photo below.
In my experience, lovage microgreens are ready to be removed from the blackout 8 to 10 days after planting.
When to remove them is more visual than a timed event because environmental factors will expedite or delay growth.
When the microgreens look like the ones below, it’s time to place them under lights.
The microgreens will perk up and turn green once placed under the lights.
Now is also the first time you should bottom water the tray of microgreens. Here is some guidance.
Growing On Lovage Microgreens
Lovage microgreens will grow steadily under the lights. The cotyledons look similar to thick blades of grass.
Some of the seed husks will remain on the microgreens. Don’t worry about them; most will fall off as the lovage grows and forms true leaves.
Although you can use lovage microgreens while in the cotyledon stage, they taste better once the true leaves form.
Lovage True Leaf Formation and When to Harvest
True leaves will form on your lovage microgreens about 20 days after planting.
I know lovage grows slowly, but the flavor is worth the wait.
The true leaves look a lot like leaves on celery tops. They are small at first, then start to grow and fill out the tray.
When to Harvest Lovage Microgreens
When most plants have formed true leaves, you can start to harvest your lovage microgreens. As you can see in the photo below, most of the tray is full of true leaves.
Before using your lovage microgreens, I recommend cutting and tasting one or two leaves. Your taste buds will experience how much flavor these little herb leaves possess.
Therefore, use them sparingly until you find the right amount, and do not over-power your food.
How to Harvest Lovage Microgreens
I use a pair of stainless steel scissors to cut off the amount of microgreens I want to use.
The nice thing about lovage is that it grows for a long time in the microgreen tray. So you will have almost two weeks to use up the microgreens fresh.
Afterward, you can harvest the remainder of the tray and store them in the refrigerator. If you have too many microgreens, you can dry them and use them as a spice. The flavor will remain in the dry leaf.
How to Use Lovage Microgreens
I clip off a few lovage leaves and use them on my salads. The lovage adds a fresh flavor.
You can also add lovage to soups and stocks. Or, you can also use lovage microgreens instead of parsley in chicken and tuna salad. Or chop and add them to fresh salsa or dress up a jarred salsa with the fresh microgreens.
Lovage microgreens can also be pureed into a morning smoothie or evening Bloody Mary.
You can use lovage as a replacement for parsley in any dish. Or, as a celery flavor profile in any food, you add celery too. The celery stalks can add crunch, and the lovage the intense celery-like flavor.
Buying Lovage Microgreen Seed & Supplies
The Home Microgreens Store has all the necessary supplies to grow lovage microgreens from trays to soil.
Home Microgreens Store also carries Lovage microgreen seeds in various packaged sizes.
I hope you found this How to Grow Lovage article informative and helpful. If so, please get your copy of my Microgreen Growing Guide and visit the Home Microgreens Store to see our selection of premium microgreen seeds at very competitive prices.
Do You Have a Pinterest Microgreen Board?
If not, why not start one! Use this pin as the first or add to your existing boards.
Sources for all the uses and precautions of consuming lovage are listed on the Very Well Health website.