Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Harvesting The Herb Garden~
I've had emails this week with question about how to harvest the different herbs.
As with most things there isn't a one size fits all method...except, for the herbs that produce flowers for use, such as Lavender-always harvest just before the buds start to look dry. This will allow the plant to fully open as many flower heads as possible and you will not lose any of the aroma or oils.
For herbs such as basil, parsley, dill, and chives-cut as the season progresses.
The more you cut the more they grow. You can at this point in time. mid to late July, cut back at least two thirds of the plant. Most will give you a bountiful second crop.
Dill should be heavy with seed heads by now....cut the stems back to almost ground level if you are saving the seed. You can pull the entire plant from the ground or leave and hope for another new crop. Dill is iffy that way and doesn't perform well in the late summer heat. Save your dill heads in a large paper bag, hang in a cool room and allow the seeds to drop from the stalk. Remove and put into dark glass jars for storage.
Oregano will always give you another crop, it's a hardy year-round herb and loves to grow.
Depending on where you are, Rosemary should be harvested from the sides of the plant and kept in a bushy form. Don't harvest to close to the first frost date, tender shoots will suffer and may be the death of your plant.
Rosemary is happiest on the south side of the building and with some form of secure backdrop. It likes a prop.
Mints are another prolific grower, cut back to ground level now and you will have another crop by fall cutting time.
I never do any major cutting after the end of October in most cases.
Small cuttings for the kitchen is fine.
Enjoy your harvest and let me know how your garden grows.