Sage is an herb most often used in cooking to flavor meat, stuffing and cheese. It is a member of the mint family, with lance-shaped leaves that are a silvery green. Sage comes from the Mediterranean region so it likes warm, dry weather. It is a perennial and will return with more stems and woody growth year after year.
Plant seeds indoors about six to eight weeks prior to an outdoor planting date. They should be planted in March, so they have at least some leaves and height before transplanting into the garden in late May. Fill a seed tray or garden pots with a light planting medium. Scatter the seeds in the seed tray, or put a few in the pots and cover them with about 1/8 inch of the planting medium
Spray water on the surface of the seed tray or pots with a spray bottle. Keep the planting medium damp but not soggy. Place grow lights about 4 inches above the seed trays or pots and leave them on 24 hours a day. Seed trays and pots can also be placed in a warm area with a great deal of sun.
Thin the seedlings if necessary. Not all seeds will germinate, so plant more than needed. Should seedlings be situated too close to each other, pull all but the strongest and healthiest looking ones. Keep them under the grow lights until it's time to place in the garden--but the lights can be turned off at night, to simulate normal night and day cycles, once leaves start to grow.
Plant seedlings outdoors after they sprout leaves and are about 3 to 4 inches high. Skip the first three steps and purchase transplants at the garden center for planting in the garden. This will ensure a harvest at the end of the season.
Plant seedlings or transplants by digging a hole with a trowel that is about 3 to 4 inches deep (may be more shallow for small seedlings) and place the root ball in the hole. Fill in with garden soil that has had compost added. Space each plant about 18 inches apart. Sage plants grow large, and some can be over 3 feet in diameter once they are full grown. Plant in well-drained soil where they get six to eight hours of sun per day.
Supplement with water so that new plants get a little water every day to every other day. Once established, they do not have to be watered as often. Sage is drought resistant, and regular rain should be adequate. If the plant looks like it is wilting, give it some water. One inch of water per week should be enough for an established plant.