With the high price of Supermarket herbs, growing your own is not only rewarding but economical. Whether you're a seasoned gardener or just starting out, this guide will equip you with the best techniques to master the art of herb harvesting, ensuring a successful and sustainable yield throughout the year. So, grab your snips, roll up your sleeves, and prepare to elevate your herb-growing experience to new heights!
Use the right tools
It is important to use sharp, clean tools to harvest your herbs. Clean tools avoid spreading disease amongst plants. Blunt tools can bruise the growing stems, preventing your herbs from reshooting and negatively affecting the shelf life of your freshly harvested herbs. It is best to use small tools so you can easily cut what you need. An ideal tool choice would be Darlac Compact Snips.
Types of herbs
There are two main categories when it comes to harvesting herbs – herbs that grow on stems and herbs that shoot from the ground. They need to be harvested in different ways to maximise their chance of regrowing.
Stem growing herbs
Herbs that grow on stems include Basil, Mint, Thyme, Oregano, Lemon Balm, Rosemary, and Sage. If they are not harvested, the stems will grow taller and taller and eventually flower. Cutting the stem just above a set of leaves is the best way to harvest these types of herbs. They will then produce side shoots, resulting in a bushier plant and more harvests for you!
Example of best harvest point on basil plant
Example of best harvest point on mint plant
Ground shooting herbs
Herbs that shoot stems right out of the base of the plant include Chives, Coriander, Dill, Lemon Grass and Parsley. These herbs are best harvested by cutting right at the base of each leaf that you want to harvest. Start with the older outer leaves and leave the young shoots to grow larger for your next harvest!
Example of best harvest point on chives plant
Example of best harvest point on parsley plant
Even once your herbs start to go to seed, or ‘bolt’, you can get a few more harvests from them before they turn bitter. For stem-growing herbs you can just cut the flower buds off as soon as you notice they appear. This will buy you a few more weeks of harvesting!
For ground shooting herbs, particularly parsley, dill, and coriander, you will need to spot the signs early to prevent bolting. A tell-tale sign is that the plant will start to develop a thick central stem. The leaves on this stem will be much finer and noticeably different from the other foliage. Cut this flowering stem out at the base as soon as possible to buy yourself a few more weeks of harvesting.
Flowering stem of a parsley plant showing thick stem and finer foliage
Looking to buy herb seeds online? Look no further than Mr Fothergill's. We stock a huge range of herb seeds from kitchen favourites through to unique and rare herb seeds not often found in Oceania. Shop the herb seeds range online here.