Harvesting Your Home Herb Garden

Time has passed since you have begun your herb gardening journey. You have watched them grow from seed and now you have one of the best home herb garden in the neighborhood and they have now flourished.

Herbs are very useful in a variety of ways and the time to harvest has arrived. To use the herbs from your home herb garden will require some preparation. Timing is a very important step at this point for the combination of wind and heat could disperse the essential oils and considerably weaken the quality of your crop.

A dry calm midsummer morning is ideal to begin harvesting your herbs. Do so immediately after the dew has dried of the leaves and just before the flowers open. This is the best time to harvest. Avoid doing so on a wet or extremely humid day because fewer oils are produced by the herb on such occasions. Harvesting does not imply removing the entire plant. For now, only a certain amount of growth is taken for use.

You don’t need to use the collected herbs immediately, they can be preserved for later use. When collecting, you shouldn’t remove more than 1/3 of the foliage. The plant needs a strong amount of foliage to re-grow what has been removed. While you are harvesting it would be a good occasion to inspect your plants for insects and leaves that are damaged. Damaged leaves will be removed and discarded.

There are typically 3 ways to preserve your home herbs for later use after harvesting herb garden; drying, freezing, or preserving them using salt or vinegar. To dry the herbs you have harvested, you will bundle 6 to 12 stems together. Remove the foliage found near the base of the stems before doing so. Use string to bundle the stems and hang them in a cool location without sunlight.

To dry individual leaves you will need to place them on a screen or rack. Turn them occasionally so that the leaves can dry properly. The use of appliances such as dehydrators, ovens or microwaves to dry herbs can do although these are not the best way to conserve the active ingredients at its maximum quality.

Other than maintaining an indoor herb garden , a easy way to preserve the harvested herbs is to freeze them. To do so, you will cut them into 1/4 inch pieces and place them on a king sheet that has been lined using wax paper. Once frozen, they can be transfered into bags and kept in the freezer until you wish to use them. There is a 3rd way to preserve herbs is through a medium.

Herbs like chopped mint, basil or tarragon can be covered  with vinegar to be preserved for several months.  Another way is to make a flavored salt by alternating layers of fresh herbs between salt.  Once they have dried,  retrieve the brown herb from the flavored salt and place them in an airtight container. Of course, they can also be used fresh right out of the garden.

Also,  it is important to clean the herbs before they are added to your recipes.  To clean fresh garden herbs place them in a bowl filled with cool water. You can use the sink if you are cleaning a large quantity of herbs. Place 2 tablespoons of salt in the water you are using to clean the herbs..

This salt in the water will send away insects without damaging the plant. Once you have finished, remove the herbs from the water and dry them using a salad spinner.  The large variety of herbs are used for many different uses.  Each different type of herb has their own needs. It is primordial  to know how to properly use, harvest, and chop them.  It is important to research each specific type of herb you wish to grow to use it correctly.

I sincerely hope that these few tips will be of great help to you all. Growing herbal plants is a wonderful activity and the many usage that the crop provides makes it even better. Harvesting herb garden in a proper way assures that you get the best results.

 

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