Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Planting and Harvesting Herbs

Gardening has become something I really enjoy doing. This year I tried growing basil, cilantro, dill, thyme, rosemary and stevia. The easiest herbs to grow were cilantro, basil and dill. The others haven't grown or are growing very slowly.

Below are some planting and harvesting tips for five staple culinary herbs (basil, cilantro, oregano, rosemary and thyme).

Basil can be planted indoors in early spring or purchased. Transplant after there is no frost threat. Harvest each month during the growing season, cut the stems back to just above the bottom two sets of leaves.

Cilantro can be sown directly in the garden in spring and every three to four weeks thereafter. Harvest by cutting small-lobed bright green leaves early on; keep the plant trimmed to slow bolting.
Oregano is grown mostly from cuttings and sold as young plants in nurseries. Give them plenty of room to spread. Harvest by cutting stems back before they flower and harvest throughout the summer. If pruned regularly the will remain attractive and bushy.

Rosemary obtain cuttings or young nursery plants because seed germination is slow. This is the best way to start rosemary. Harvest stems by cutting the stem back by a third from summer through early fall. If grown in pots, plants can be brought inside and harvested throughout the year.
Thyme can be grown from seed, but is genetically unstable. It is best to grow plants from root cuttings or obtain from a nursery. Harvest by cutting 3 to 4 inches off the stem several times a year. This keeps the plant from being woody and lessens the chance of fungal disease.

I obtained this information from Fine Gardening's Guide to Vegetable Gardening. I learned so much and I will share more with you in future posts.

Until next time...