Now Sowing: Lovage (April–September)

Common Name: Lovage

Scientific Name: Levisticum Officinale

Seed Saving Level: Advanced 


Direct-sow lovage seeds outdoors once soil temperatures are above 60°F.  The soil should be well-drained with a slightly acidic pH of around 6.5. It prefers sandy, loamy soil. Space plants 18 inches apart. They reach maturity 85-95 days after planting.


Maintain even moisture, but don’t  allow soil to become waterlogged. Keep the soil moist to the touch at all times, but not wet. If the soil dries out, the leaves tend to get bitter.


In the first year, only harvest the leaves of your plant. In the second year, you can start to harvest the stalks and roots. Harvest the roots by digging them up with a garden fork. Brush the dirt off, but don’t wash them immediately. You can store them in the refrigerator for several weeks before using.

Seed Saving:

Harvest seeds when the seed heads turn brown. Snip off entire heads and put them in a paper bag to dry. Once they’re dry, roll the seed heads in your hands to remove the brown casings.


Please call Infoline at 520-791-4010 to check for current availability at your local library.


Braised Lamb with Garlic, Wine, and Lovage 


1 tsp. coriander seeds

1/2 tsp. black peppercorns

4 whole garlic cloves

5 Tbsp. olive oil, divided

1 (2-lb.) boneless lamb shoulder, cut into

11/2-inch pieces

1 medium (10-oz.) white onion, thinly sliced (about 21 /2 cups)

2 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 c dry white wine

1/4 c chopped fresh lovage leaves, divided 6 fresh sage leaves 2 fresh bay leaves

1 garlic clove, smashed

1 3/4 c tomato passata or strained tomatoes

6 (21 /2-oz.) day-old bread slices


Roughly grind coriander seeds, peppercorns, and cloves with a mortar and pestle; set aside.

Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a Dutch oven over         medium-high.  Add lamb pieces in a single layer, working in batches if needed, and cook, turning   occasionally, until well browned on all sides, about 8 minutes. Add onion, salt, and coriander mixture. Cook, stirring occasionally, until spices are fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add wine, 1 tablespoon lovage, sage leaves, bay leaves, and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is slightly reduced, about 2 minutes. Stir in passata, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until lamb is tender, about 2 hours.

Preheat broiler to high with rack in middle of oven.   Uncover lamb, and cook over medium-low until sauce is thickened, about 20 minutes, skimming off fat as needed.

Brush 1 side of bread slices evenly with remaining 2 tablespoons oil, and place on a baking sheet. Broil in preheated oven until lightly toasted, about 6 minutes.

Serve braised lamb and sauce over bread; sprinkle with remaining 3 tablespoons lovage.


Food & Wine. April 2019, Vol. 42 Issue 4, p90.