Lovage (Levisticum officinale) belongs to the family of Apiaceae. Cultivated as a vegetable plant, it is mainly used in the kitchen as condimentbut also ranks among aromatic and medicinal plants. It is called mountain hunt in its uncultivated form, that is, when it grows in the wild. But it is still the type species found in gardens. Planting Lovage in the vegetable garden allows you to fill up with exquisite flavors. So do not hesitate to cultivate it. She is very easy to live and is ideal for beginner gardeners. Let’s do a check in.
Sow Lovage or Mountain Ache
Mountain Ache sowing can begin in the month ofavril and continue until June. We sow in place, away from other plants in the vegetable garden because Lovage is a species with great development. In three years, it ends up creating a shady area that can harm many vegetables which absolutely need a lot of sunshine.
After emergence, when the seedlings have formed three or four leaves, we proceed tothinning. This consists of eliminating the weakest small plants to keep only the most vigorous. Two feet ofmountain hunt should be spaced 40 to 45 cm apart. You have to think about it when thinning the row.
Growing Mountain Ache or Perpetual Celery
This vigorous perennial herb that can reach 2 meters high is also known by other vernacular names including perpetual celery or mountain angelica.
It is tolerant with regard to its exposure provided that it can benefit from a deep, moist, well-drained soil. It must also be rich because this plant is greedy. Experienced gardeners advise growing Lovage preferably in mi-shadows in the south and in the sun in the other regions. In summer, it is adorned with flowers in umbels of a rather pale yellow. The strain has an average hardiness allowing it to withstand temperatures down to -15°C.
Caring for Lovage or Mountain Angelica
Cultivation of Lovage is breathtakingly simple. It is even almost frustrating for gardening enthusiasts since there is almost nothing to do!
Watering the Mountain Ache is only necessary in extremely dry weather in order to restore freshness to the soil.
It is very useful to put a mulch at the foot of the lovages. This limits the evaporation process. As a result, the ground stays cooler for longer. Mulch is an asset for plants in general as summer temperatures get higher and periods of drought follow one another. Thanks to mulching, we save water since watering is reduced. Icing on the cake, mulch is a good solution for weed control. Already that the Ache des Montagnes requires very little time in terms of maintenance, the gardener who uses mulch can (almost) twiddle his thumbs!
Remove flower stalks
So that the plant does not use all its energy to produce its yellow flowers to the detriment of the foliage, it is recommended to cut the floral stems at the base. from the beginning of summer since it is during the beautiful season that Lovage flowers. However, you should save some if you plan to collect the seeds of the Mountain Ache as well.
Before the first fall frosts, we must cut down the stems lovage 2 cm from the ground. The plant will start again when vegetation resumes the following spring. It is not for nothing that we call this plant the perpetual celery! Once installed, it remains in place and returns every year for 18 to 20 years.
Parasites to diseases
Apart from a possible attack by aphids and some leaves nibbled by the slugs and snails, Mountain Ache or Lovage fear nothing: no pests, no diseases. A quality that gardeners appreciate.
Harvest the Mountain Ache, the famous Maggi Grass
The leaf harvest serrated Lovage spreads throughout the first nine or ten months of the year, depending on the needs. However, the best time is located just before flowering, namely from July to September. At this time, they are particularly tender. Two solutions make it possible to preserve the leaves of the Mountain Ache for a long time. The first is to dry them in the sun before putting them in a spice box type container, the second is freezing. Their aromatic quality will not be altered.
As for the seeds that follow flowering, which are also edible, they can be harvested during the fall, when they are brown in color. This means that the fruits are ripe. The method consists of first cutting off the faded flowers that have been taken care to leave on the stalk, then shaking them over a cardboard plate or a large container in order to make them fall the seeds they contain. You can also place the end of a dried flower stalk in a paper bag and leave it there for a good ten days. After this time, all you have to do is shake the bag: the seeds will come off more easily.
The fresh or dry leaves of the Anche des Montagnes flavor countless culinary preparations, whether salads, sauces… We integrate our seeds in various marinades. Ground, they are used like celery salt. His infused roots in simmering water produce a flavored beverage that helps drain the urinary system. For a liter of water, 15 g of roots are enough and it is advisable not to exceed three cups per day. Finally, you can also prepare infusions with digestive properties with the leaves and/or seeds of Lovage. Again, we limit ourselves to three cups daily for a short week.
Finally, it should be noted that the pronounced taste of celery so appreciated by this essential plant in the kitchen is strangely reminiscent of that of the famous stock cubes, which has earned it the evocative nickname from Herbe to Maggi even though Lovage does not enter at all into the composition of these culinary aids…