Do you know that you can learn how to pick herbs without killing plant by distinguishing each plant’s harvesting methods? Below are seven of the most common herbs that you can grow in the UK garden. These herbs vary from annuals, perennials, and biennials, and they also differ in some ways in terms of picking.
You must know each herb’s harvesting methods to keep them healthy and productive for the next picking. They don’t have significant differences, but every British gardener must have these arsenal skills to have a thriving herb garden. Otherwise, picking herbs is an enriching task because your plant will also benefit from it and be more productive for the next harvest.
How To Pick Herbs Without Killing Plant For Beginners
Generally speaking, it’s ideal to start picking herbs as soon as they have foliage to encourage growth further. In each season, you can pick up to three-quarters of development before the plant begins flowering. This way, leaf production will be continuous.
You can also encourage lateral branching by strategically pinching out the herb stems at a leaf node. And if you want to ensure a flavorful harvest, you want to start picking around mid-morning before the sun gets too hot. This time, the herb’s oil content is high, but always remember only to pick what you need.
To ensure flavorful and productive herbs, don’t forget to secure their ideal conditions before and after harvesting. A controlled environment like the polytunnel makes this more convenient and allows continuous harvest from healthy herb plants.
Because basil makes the ideal companion plant for other herbs, it’s not surprising that it is one of the most common herbs in the UK garden. However, do you know the best way to harvest basil? Among this list, basil is the herb you can pick with your fingers without other tools.
You will pinch the top of the plant to harvest leaves that you need for immediate consumption. On the other hand, you can also harvest basil for winter by cutting the entire stalk. Remember to leave around four leaves so that the plant can regrow for later picking.
You can pick coriander without accidentally killing the plant using sharp and sterilised shears early in the morning. You want to start cutting before the flowering period and right after it halts growing. A good tip to know the best time to pick coriander is when the plant is around 8 inches high.
Unlike coriander, the best time to pick mint stems is when the plant starts flowering. Proper time is crucial to harvest aromatic and flavorful mint. Once the plant enters budding, you can select the top part.
You can either use scissors or pinch the leaves when picking. However, be careful not to damage the stalk. You can pick anytime you want, but you can also cut the whole mint back to the first set of leaves if you’re going to harvest in large volumes.
Doing so leads to a more productive plant for the next harvest. Nonetheless, mint is one of those plants that can withstand picking compared to other herbs, so you shouldn’t get worried.
A common mistake is taking oregano from the root, so remember to only pick the healthy flowering stems just above a node to encourage growth later. Harvest 12-inch flowering crowns using a knife or shears and do so in the second half of the day. It’s also worth emphasising never cutting back more than ⅓ of the plant since this will over prune it.
A mistake you can avoid in picking parsley is taking the stems with only one segment of leaves. Instead, wait for around 90 days to start harvesting after planting. You want to pick branches with many leaves, about three bundles, to guarantee that they are fragrant and ready for harvest.
Cut parsley under the root, near the base, to encourage more stems later on. Remember to harvest from the periphery of the plant and not the interior.
Young rosemary stems around 8 inches are ready for harvesting. Cut them using shears and do so before the plant starts blooming to ensure high aromatic oils. Similar to mint, rosemary is hard to withstand harvesting as long as you leave its woody stems.
The beauty of thyme is that as long as you preserve its root system, you can harvest it any time of the year. Use kitchen shears or snip above a bunch of thyme leaves, and you can also get the new shoots. Like with rosemary, don’t take the woody stems.
It’s always exciting to grow your herbs, so it’s not surprising why herb gardens in the UK are ubiquitous nowadays. But do you know how to pick herbs without killing the plant? Each herb has an ideal time, growth sign, and technique for harvesting.
Learning these techniques is crucial if you want the herbs to be productive for the following harvest. The beauty with most herbs is that proper picking, pinching, or cutting, will also encourage them to grow healthier and provide more. Overall, remember to be gentle with your herbs, preserve their roots, and avoid harvesting the woody stems.