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Herb harvesting

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  • JPGators17
    Charter Member
    • Jan 2015
    • 446
    • Orlando, FL

    Herb harvesting

    I decided to start growing herbs this weekend (all weed jokes welcome), so I built and herb box and picked up some starter plants from home depot: parsley, sage, basil, tarragon and thyme. There's also a bell pepper plant in there but I'll probably end up planting that elsewhere.

    However, I don't really know the best way to harvest, dry or store what I don't use immediately. I'm assuming they will grow faster than I can use them (which may be silly since I'mnot even sure I'll keep them alive). Does anyone have some good resources that you can point a newbie to?
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  • ofelles
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    #2
    I'm no help. Thought about doing it.....too lazy I guess.

    Comment

    • mountainsmoker
      Club Member
      • Jun 2019
      • 1467
      • Bryson City, NC

      #3
      I don't know but mi wife has does all the herb harvesting in our f amily. I know she has bags of dried basil and makes pesto from it also. In Orlando you will be able to grow all the perennials year around and pick them as needed. I found this one on my wife's shelf. https://www.amazon.com/How-Dry-Herbs...s=books&sr=1-4
      Last edited by mountainsmoker; August 5th, 2019, 11:10 AM.

      Comment

      • RonB
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        #4
        Lots of sun, damp but not wet rich soil and you are ready to grow - er - go. If you decide to plant rosemary, I'd put it in a separate pot because it's a perennial. If it does well, it may get big enough to need repotting.

        If the leaves start to get a little yellow tint, I'd add a little Espoma fertilizer and work it into the top 2" - 3" of soil.

        I've never dried herbs, but I think a dehydrator would work well if you have one. Others may have more info on drying 'em.

        Comment


        • JPGators17
          JPGators17 commented
          Editing a comment
          Good to know about rosemary, that and cilantro are the two others they didn't have but I want.

        • DiverDriver
          DiverDriver commented
          Editing a comment
          I keep all my herbs in individual pots and carry them inside for winter.
      • johnec00
        Charter Member
        • Aug 2014
        • 514
        • Orlando, Florida
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        #5
        For the parsley, sage and thyme, we dry. Have tried a dehydrator, but didn't like it much. Now we place the stems in between 2 sheets of paper towels and microwave. 30 seconds on high, turn over and 30 more. Start checking then. repeat the 30 seconds until the leaves are just dry enough to crack. Strip off the stems and store the result in air tight bottles. For the basil, either make pesto, or freeze. To freeze, remove the leaves, blanch in boiling water for a few seconds, then freeze spread out on a screen. Once frozen, put the leaves in a zip lock and back into the freezer. We also have a tarragon plant, but seldom use it.

        In our heat, parsley prefers winter, and basil bolts quickly. The others do just fine in full summer sun. Other summer lovers are oregano, marjoram, rosemary and chives. Dill and cilantro like winter.

        Have fun!

        Comment


        • JPGators17
          JPGators17 commented
          Editing a comment
          Great info, thanks! How far back can you cut back without killing the plant?
      • HawkerXP
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        • Jul 2016
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        #6
        If you see a helicopter circling your house its time to harvest.
        Last edited by HawkerXP; August 5th, 2019, 12:03 PM. Reason: spelling

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        • JPGators17
          JPGators17 commented
          Editing a comment
          Hahaha!!
      • Murdy
        Club Member
        • May 2018
        • 426
        • North-Central Illinois

        #7
        In my experience, most of them grow like weeds. We plant them in the corner of our vegetable garden. Too cold here for them to survive the winter, so sometime in the fall, depending on the weather, cut them down, tie them into small bundles, and hang them in a warm, relatively dry, place. After they dry, we separate the leaves from the stem and store in old spice containers.

        btw, cilantro can get pretty big too.

        Comment

        • mountainsmoker
          Club Member
          • Jun 2019
          • 1467
          • Bryson City, NC

          #8
          As an addendum you might want to separate your perennials from your annuals. Common perennials are sage, thyme, rosemary, and oregano. Park Seed carries a vast herb seed selection.

          The seeds will last several years if sealed in a Ziploc bag and stored in the coldest part of the refrigerator.
          Last edited by mountainsmoker; August 5th, 2019, 04:28 PM.

          Comment

          • Spinaker
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            • Nov 2014
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            #9
            I have an herb garden that is spectacular to pick from. It produces all summer and into the fall, until the first frost. I will collect the hearts all season. Any that I cannot use right away, I will dehydrate and save for later. The dehydrated herbs are not as potent, but it is better than having them go to waste. There is nothing like having fresh herbs from the garden to cook with, especially when you are talking about using them for steaks and board sauces!

            Comment

            • johnec00
              Charter Member
              • Aug 2014
              • 514
              • Orlando, Florida
              • Equipment:
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                18 Inch Weber Kettle (Rescued from neighbor's trash)
                Rotisserie for 18 inch kettle
                Master Forge propane smoker
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                Anova Sous Vide
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                DIY 4 channel bluetooth thermometer
                LEM grinder, sausage stuffer and meat slicer (all gifts)

                Favorite Beer:
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              #10
              JPGators17 wrote:
              Great info, thanks! How far back can you cut back without killing the plant?
              The sage, thyme, and tarragon are perennials, let them grow a bit then cut off what you need to use fresh. When they outgrow your planter, then just cut them back fairly severely and preserve. The basil is an annual, use pieces of what you've got fresh until it bolts to seed. Then plant the seeds for next years crop. Parsley is technically a biannual, but I've seldom gotten it to live through the summer. It will regrow fairly quickly if you cut it back mostly to the ground. In addition, parsley is a host plant for the black swallowtail caterpillar.

              Here's a link to a video I made years ago of swallowtail caterpillars. Skip to about 6:20 to see them work over a parsley plant.

              Comment


              • Willard
                Willard commented
                Editing a comment
                Glad I found this. Just in the last week I found these green caterpillars eating up my parsley. There were a number of them. I was just one plant but they wiped it out in a few days. This is the first year I have grown these so i didn't know what they were. Thanks for the post!
            • SmokeyGator
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              • Jul 2016
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              #11
              I pick as needed, but then again my growing season is all year. It MIGHT get to 40 degrees here, but that only lasts a couple days. As mentioned some plants come and go; some grow all year, and because Florida syndrome some things that are supposed to have growing seasons get confused because winter never really comes, so they think it’s always either summer or a wildfire is really close AND it’s summer.

              If you need to harvest and hold, a dehydrator will work.

              Comment

              • IowaGirl
                Club Member
                • Dec 2018
                • 459
                • Northeast Iowa, USA

                #12
                Basil is very easy to propagate from cuttings. When it gets weedy looking, cut it back, use some in the kitchen, and stick a few 4 to 8 inch cuttings in a glass of water in a sunny window. When they grow roots 1/2 to 1 inch long, stick 'em back in the pot or garden.

                Comment

                • DiverDriver
                  Club Member
                  • May 2019
                  • 220
                  • Fort Wayne Indiana

                  #13
                  I do herbs and grow all year. I really give away extra in the summer to folks at work. Good luck with the tarragon I never had any luck with it. May I suggest some Thai Basil it is fantastic and aroma the best.

                  Comment

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