Sage (Salvia Officinalis) is an attractive plant that grows between 2 and 3 feet and is a member of the mint family. Used as an herb to enhance many dishes as well as an beautiful ornamental plant for gardens. It is a hardy perennial commonly used to season poultry.

Sage is an ancient herb used for medicinal purposes from wounds to broken bones. It was also believed to help relieve stomach disorders and helped one's memory. The Greeks used sage to treat ulcers, snake bites and consumption. To the Romans, sage was considered sacred including a ceremony in honor of it. They would gather sage dressed in clean robes and make a food sacrifice. It is also believed they used sage as a form of toothpaste.

Unlike other herbs, Sage seeds do not germinate well and can take as long as two years to reach maturity when grown traditionally. Sage cuttings are a more popular alternative for growing.

Planting:

Sow approximately six to eight weeks before the last frost.Planted in soil, seeds will take about 3 weeks to germinate. Using a hydroponic system, proper light, and in a controlled environment germination, time can possibly be cut in half.

Planting sprouts in a hydroponic system with a nutrient solution will give you a better growth rate and healthier stock. As sage loves high sun, a fluorescent light should be placed approximately 2 inches above the sprout growth. As the plants grow, raise the light. You may also use a windowsill if it offers bright sunlight. Keep your water level high enough for the roots to reach at all times. Hydroponic systems water your herb garden with a rich nutrient solution that will promote a healthier and faster growth than outdoor gardening can possibly do. You will experience less diseases and a lack of outdoor insect infestations.

Hydroponic Solutions:

There are many wonderful ways to grow your herb garden with hydroponics. Visit your local gardening shop that offers hydro growing. Many gardeners like to use either a partially enclosed grow box or a completely enclosed grow box system. These boxes are ideal for those winter months when outdoors is a complete impossibility. Growers are thrilled with having fresh herbs and vegetables in the dead of winter.

With a partially enclosed or completely enclosed grow box, the world is open to a huge selection of plants and herbs to enjoy year round. Your only limitation for a grow box is your available space, as they range from small to large containers. Some of the tremendous features include a large variety of lighting options such as grow lights to ventilation systems.

Grow Boxes:

Partially enclosed boxes will require grow lights that are placed appropriately above in order to grow plants. Grow lights come in a variety of bulbs from fluorescent to more energy efficient lighting such as LEDs (light emitting diodes).

Many completely enclosed grow boxes come with added features including built-in grow lights and fan ventilation systems for air circulation to prevent the onslaught of various molds and fungi.

Grow Rooms:

Grow rooms offer a controlled environment for your plants. In order to grow plants in one of these rooms depends on your available space as they come in a good array of sizes. You should acquire a good ventilation system, such as a fan, because these rooms can become extremely hot and air circulation will be extremely important to keep temperatures down.

With the growing popularity in hydroponic systems, there has never been a better time for indoor gardeners. The sky truly is the limit from herbs to fresh vegetables and even exotic flowers. New systems, products and techniques are constantly on the horizon and gardeners are ready to jump on it.

Harvesting:

Cut the leaves sparingly in the first year of growth and prepare to dry. Tie the cuttings into small bunches and hang upside down in a dark, well ventilated room. Once dried, remove the leaves from the stems and store whole.

Disease & Insects:

In an outdoor environment various diseases are carried by insects or are often found within the soil. Spider mites and slugs are the two biggest problems for sage. Use a natural insect controller to combat these pests. Hydro growing will help prevent this from taking place because of the nutrient solution vs soil.

In an indoor hydroponic system, regulate the nutrients and watch the temperature. Keep air circulated with a fan to keep the possibility of insects and diseases developing. Using a sandy soil will promote good drainage which will keep diseases down as well. A good insecticide soap or natural insect controller are in order should you find problems developing.

Collecting Seeds:

Once the blooms start turning brown and the heads are totally dry, gently crush them between your hands and carefully fan away the bracts.

Conclusion:

Growing sage indoors allows you to enjoy these wonderful herbs year round and especially during the winter months when all else is barren. Sage has a wonderful aroma and delightful flavor. Pull out those dusty old recipes that call for sage and prepare delightful dishes!