Guidelines for Harvesting Herbs

If you are worried about harvesting the herbs and for this reason you are restricting yourself from harvesting herbs, then you are suggested to be calm. You don’t need to worry about that because there are some easy and effective guidelines. Find them below.

Harvesting herbs at your home can be done very easily and effectively. Only you need to follow some of the guidelines.

Few Guidelines for Harvesting Herbs

Here are a few guidelines that you need to follow to harvest herbs in your garden.

  • If you are opting for such herb plants which have volatile oil like lemon balm and mints, you need to harvest them just before noon. It is so because by noon the oil is supposed to reach the leaves.
  • Generally, rain washes away a good quantity of aromatic oils from some of the herbs. So you need to wait for at least one day but you are strongly advised to wait for two to three days to allow the plant collect the oil again.
  • If it is not the harvesting time then you should never pick more then one third of the available harvest. It will allow most of plants to survive. If you are unsure of the amount of harvesting then you start with one tenth of the harvest and keep on observing.
  • The gathered plants should be healthy and should not be taken from such a place where they are exposed to air and soil pollutions.
  • You need to go for the plants which you can grow at your home instead of collecting from wild places.
  • Normally, it is better if you can harvest entire branches instead of removing leaves only.
  • Herbs like mint, lavender, oregano and pennyroyal have flexible stems that are easier to be picked with the entire plant. You need to keep the leaves as more as possible. It aids in preserving their healing properties.
  • You can harvest the plants like elderberry and oak by only picking every leaf separately.
  • You need to start harvesting the herb at such a time while the plant has sufficient foliage to continue its growth.
  • You can harvest the annual herbs until the frost comes.

How to Harvest Herbs?

  • Herbs ought to be harvested prior to blooming, unless blooms are used. Harvesting time can be prolonged by pinching off the buds as they appear. Herb growth can be encouraged by cutting them back.
  • Sharp knife or pair of scissors can be used to snip off the new growth. Ensure that the leaves are free from insect attack and insect damages.
  • Leaves and stems should be closely inspected for holes or discoloration which indicates insect damage. Look under the leaves for the presence of insect larvae or eggs. Relatively, herbs are free from insects, but it is always better to take time to closely examine them.
  • Rinse herb cuttings in cool water to remove debris or dirt present on the leaves.
  • Remove excess water and use paper towels to pat dry them for removing moisture on the leaves.
  • Wrap fresh herbs in a storage bag or plastic wrap and store them in refrigerator for a few days. Pop a few herbs in the water vase and set them near cooking area for keeping them fresh. Not that they look great but they are in reach whenever you need them.
  • Herbs can be dried by binding them with rubber bands. Several small bundles can be prepared to improve air circulation.
  • Tie the herb bundle with a piece of twine upside down in a well ventilated and dry area away from the sunlight. They can also be hung from the nails or hooks in the ceiling beams or ceilings.
  • To determine whether herbs are dried or not check them every few days. The drying time and conditions vary from herb to herb. Herbs should be brittle to touch after drying. Give them some more time to dry if they are pliable.
  • Dried herbs should be stored in airtight containers. Transparent container should be stored in the cupboard.
  • Fresh herbs should be chopped into small sections for freezing and keep them in ice cube trays.