Rosemary is a versatile kitchen herb that adds a pungent flavor and piney scent to food.

Unfortunately for us, it is a Zone 7 plant, native to the Mediterranean – which means that Mainers have two options: Either treat it as an annual and replant it in your herb garden each spring or dig it up before the first frost and try to keep it alive indoors all winter.

You can grow rosemary from seed, but it takes up to 16 weeks to get it ready to be planted outside after all danger of frost is gone. In other words, it is going to take some work.

Prepare light, well-drained potting mix in seedling pots or a seedling tray – using a lot more seed than you think you will need because rosemary has an unusually low rate of germination. Cover the seed, water it, and then cover the container with clear plastic wrap.

In Maine, you probably will need a heating mat because the seed wants temperatures of about 80 degrees. Once the seeds – or at least some of them – sprout, remove the plastic wrap and provide a light source for eight to 10 hours a day – which means artificial light in Maine.

Once the seedlings are about 3 inches tall, they will be ready to plant outside. They can go directly in the garden, but if you plan to bring them inside in the fall it will be easier to grow them in containers.

If you get enough viable seedlings, and you’re a creative sort, you could try your hand making topiaries with some of them.