Savory is an aromatic herb with a very simple cultivation, it can be kept both in the ground and in pots. In the garden it looks like a fragrant bush and simple to keep tidy, it does not look bad even in ornamental contexts.
This aroma is widely used in French cuisine, in Provence the spice is also known as "donkey pepper". other vegetables.
There are two varieties of savory: the satureja hortensis, with a delicate taste and an annual cultivation cycle and therefore must be re-sown every year, and the satureja montana, more spicy and tasty, which is a perennial aromatic herb. The plant of the Lamiaceae family reaches 30/35 cm in height, it is a shrub that forms bushes with lanceolate leaves and purple or white flowers depending on the variety.
The climate and the soil in which to grow
Climate. Savory is a very rustic plant. It tolerates the cold well, especially if we decide to grow the santureja montana variety, but it loves a sunny exposure.
Ground. This medicinal plant is not particularly expensive in terms of richness of the soil, therefore it lends itself to being cultivated in practically all substrates, as long as there are no stagnations of water. The mountain variety loves stony and limestone soils.
Sowing. Savory has small seeds that germinate very easily. The plant can therefore be easily obtained starting from the seed, which can be placed directly in the garden in spring. It is advisable to sow broadcasts and then thin out, leaving our small fragrant flowerbed dedicated to savory. If, on the other hand, you want to sow in pots, you can put it between February and March to transplant in April. Obviously, after sowing and up to the development of the plant, it is necessary to wet the soil regularly. Buy savory seeds: you can find organic savory seeds online (here).
The division of the tufts. Savory can also be multiplied by dividing the head, an operation to be carried out in spring or after summer.
Cutting. The third method of forming a new savory plant is the cutting. The system is very simple, similar to that of many other aromatic plants (for example rosemary). A branch is cut from the mother plant, choosing one of those semi-woody twigs that start from the base of the plant, about a dozen centimeters long. This branch must be left in the water for a few days and then in the potted soil so that it can take root. The cutting is done by cutting the branch in autumn to transplant the rooted seedling in the garden in spring.
Sixth of implant. If you grow savory in the family garden, you can be content with just a few plants for self-consumption, since a handful of leaves are enough to flavor vegetables or other recipes each time. In any case it is necessary to sow the plants keeping at least 25-30 cm of distance between them, between the rows I recommend leaving a minimum of 50 cm to allow the passage.
Satureja hortensis and satureja montana. The two varieties of savory are grown in a similar way, the difference is that the ortense variety is annual (so every year it is sown) while the montana is perennial. There is also a clear difference in taste, given that the mountain variety has a decidedly stronger flavor.
Cultural care. Savory forms a nice dense bush, so it is simple to keep weeds clean around the plant, weeding is at the same time useful to oxygenate the soil, avoiding the formation of a surface crust.
Irrigation. Wet the garden soil is useful for savory only during particularly dry summers. The mountain variety resists drought even better, particularly if the plant is past its first year of life. When the rains are scarce, action is taken to avoid creating stagnations, so it is better to irrigate often with little water than vice versa.
Mulch. Mulching with straw or breathable cloth can be useful in reducing weeding during the summer, while in very cold areas mulching is useful for not freezing the soil near the roots of the plant.
Cutting the branches. Throughout the year, dry branches must be removed from the plant, keeping it clean and alive, in particular it is useful to prune at the end of winter to allow the plant to restart to vegetate properly. Pruning the stems in summer instead stimulates the plant and helps to have a greater harvest.
Parasites and diseases. This aromatic has no particular enemies, it can be grown in the garden without the need to intervene with pesticides or natural preparations. Cryptogamic diseases, in particular root rot, are prevented by planting it in well-draining soils.
Inbreeding. Savory is a plant that attracts some types of insects and in particular butterflies, it can be useful to have it near fruit plants that need pollinators, such as pumpkins and zucchini. It also seems to be unwelcome to aphids, a characteristic that makes it a precious companion for many vegetables, especially beans and green beans.
Grow savory in pots. Savory can also be grown in pots on the balcony, you need a medium-sized pot, you need to arrange a good drainage on the bottom of the pot (using, for example, expanded clay) and maybe mix a soil with a little compost or humus and a little of sand.
Collection, consumption and ownership
Collection. In the kitchen, savory leaves and flowers are used. If you want to keep the plant to have a ready-to-use spice, harvesting can be done as needed. A summer harvest, on the other hand, is useful if you want to take whole twigs to dry in order to preserve this aromatic longer.
Use in the kitchen. Savory is an aroma that can be used extensively in the kitchen, in particular it goes well with legumes and soups as a flavor. Keep in mind that mountain savory has a stronger character and a spicy taste, while hortensis is more delicate. The leaves can be used as a spice both fresh and dried.
Properties of savory. Like practically all aromatic herbs, savory is also attributed a herbal use, in particular linked to the digestive system. This medicinal plant is said to have antispasmodic and stomachic properties.