Lovage is a big plant, that largely takes care of itself. Grow it for its leaves which have a distinctive celery flavour, with a hint of lemon. In Italy it's rather charmingly known as 'Mountain Celery'.
Use it in any dish as a substitute for celery or parsley, but use sparingly as the flavour is quite strong.
It also has beautiful architectural foliage and is very easy to grow. The plants will come back year after year.
Time from seed to plate: 8 weeks
Lovage is best sown between March and May. Gutters filled with compost are a very convenient way of sowing, but a seed bed also works well. Create a groove about 1/2 inch deep in gutter/seed bed and sow the seeds leaving 1-2 inches between each one. Cover with compost/soil, firm and water gently. When seedlings emerge thin them to leave 3 inches between each plant.
If you only want a few plants, use Jiffy 7s and a propagator indoors. The seeds will germinate twice as fast as outdoor sown ones.
Sowing method: Gutters or Propagating Kits
Move the seedlings to their final growing positions about a month after sowing. Gently dig up seed bed sown plants or separate out gutter sown plants with a trowel and plant individually in your plot leaving 2ft plants in both directions.
The plants can grow to a whopping 6ft tall, so choose the planting site carefully
Start harvesting around 8 weeks from sowing. Young leaves have the best taste and texture.
Cut the plants right back in June to encourage a new flush of growth.