Harvesting Herbs

Herbs should be harvested when the oils that produce flavor and aroma are at their peak. Herbs grown for foliage should be harvested before they flower. An example would be chives- if allowed to flower, this can cause the foliage to develop a strong odor and flavor.

Collect flowers such as borage and chamomile before full flower. Herb flowers such as lavender and roses harvested for craft projects should be picked right before they are fully open.

Begin harvesting the herbs when the plant has enough foliage to maintain growth. Harvest early in the morning after the dew dries, but before noon. Herb oils are at peak flavor during the morning hours.

Perennial herbs can be harvested until late September. Harvest lavender, lemon balm, sage, and mint in mid-September. Allow the plants to “harden off” before October. If the herb plants need to be divided or repotted, do this in late September after the weather is cooler.

Bring tender plants inside around the first of October. Tender plants like basil, parsley and dill need shelter from cool temperatures and frost. A sunny window or greenhouse will extend the growing season a few weeks longer.

~ Meadow Walker

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