Sow sage seeds directly into the soil after the last frost date in your area. Alternatively, you can start seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost and transplant them outside once the danger of frost has passed. Sage thrives in full sunlight, so select a spot in your garden that receives at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day.Sage prefers well-draining soil with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0. Mix in some compost or well-rotted manure to improve soil fertility and drainage, it won’t tolerate sitting in wet soil.
THIN: If you've sown sage seeds directly, thin the seedlings to 12-24 inches apart to give each plant enough space to grow and thrive.
WATER: While sage is drought-tolerant, it's essential to keep the soil consistently moist during the early stages of growth. Once the plant is established, water it moderately, allowing the soil to dry slightly between watering sessions.
FEED: Sage doesn't require heavy feeding. You can apply a balanced fertilizer once or twice during the growing season, but avoid excessive nitrogen, as it can lead to weak growth and reduced essential oil content in the leaves.
PROTECT: Apply a layer of organic mulch around the base of the plants to conserve moisture, suppress weed growth, and keep the soil temperature consistent. Sage is generally resistant to pests and diseases. However, keep an eye out for common garden pests like aphids or spider mites and promptly address any infestations with organic pest control methods.
PRUNE: Regular pruning is beneficial for sage plants. Pinch off the tips of young plants to encourage bushier growth. In the spring, trim back old and woody stems to promote new growth. Avoid cutting back into the woody section of the stem, as sage has difficulty regenerating from there.
You can start harvesting sage leaves once the plant has become established and has enough foliage to sustain growth. Harvest the leaves individually or cut entire stems but avoid taking more than one-third of the plant's growth at once to ensure its continued health.
The best time to harvest sage leaves is in the morning when the aromatic oils are at their peak. For the most potent flavor, pick the leaves just before the plant flowers.
You can use sage leaves fresh or dry them for long-term storage. To dry sage, tie small bundles of stems together and hang them upside down in a well-ventilated, dry area until the leaves are crisp and crumble easily. Store dried sage in airtight containers away from direct sunlight.