Herb harvesting

Asked April 9, 2019, 8:33 PM EDT

I just planted my first tiny herb garden and would like more information on how to harvest them safely so I don’t kill the plants and they keep growing.

Clatsop County Oregon container gardening herbs in a container

1 Response

Congratulations. Herbs in containers need regular feeding because watering leaches fertilizer minerals out of the soil. Start 2 months after planting with a water soluble fertilizer at the recommended rate every 2 weeks.
Your container looks like you may have planted chives & mint(?) which both like more water with basil, rosemary, sage(?) which like well-drained soil. So be careful with your watering.

You should normally try to harvest herbs in the morning after dew has dried but before afternoon heat. Don't harvest more than 1/3 of any plant unless, for example, you have multiple chives plants. Unless you grow an herb for flowers, cut off buds to prevent flowering. Flower production can, for example, turn basil bitter.

Basil - harvest when the plant has at least 6 leaves - start at the top.
Oregano - start at the top of the branch after it's 6 inches tall. leave 2-3 sets of leaves on the branch.
Parsley - cut after it has 3 leaf segments - harvest the outer stems - cut about 2 inches above the ground. Don't cut the center stem.
Rosemary - You can cut sprigs anywhere along the stem about 6 weeks after planting.
Sage - during the first year, only pick a few leaves - 2nd year - cut sprigs above the woody stem
Chives - let plants get 10-12 inches high then harvest the outer 1/3 if you only have one plant. If more than one plant, you could harvest one entire plant.
Mint - Once plant is 6 inches high, cut sprigs 3-4 inches from top, cuttgingjust above a set of leaves.