Herbs are a great addition to any garden, and can even be the central theme of certain types of gardens. However, if you are going to be growing them, and more importantly using them in your cooking, then you will need to eventually harvest them. The thing is if herbs aren't harvested properly you can end up destroying the plant. Luckily harvesting herbs can be surprisingly easy as long as you follow a few simple guidelines.
- Know your plants. Perhaps the single most important part of harvesting herbs is to know your plants. After all, if you don't know when the herbs are fully ripe, it is a little hard to know when they should be harvested. If you haven't already done so prior to planting your herbs, take the time while they are growing up to learn when they are ready for harvesting.
- Use the right tools. If you don't use the right tools when harvesting herbs, you can very easily end up damaging your plants so badly that they are unable to be used anymore. Typically all you will need to cut the herbs is either a sharp knife or a sharp pair of scissors. Make sure that they are sharp since they will cut through the herbs easier, and with less damage. Be sure that you also have some rubber bands or garden twine to "bunch" up your harvested herbs.
- Inspect the herbs. Before you begin cutting or harvesting your herbs, make sure that you take a look at the herbs themselves to ensure that they are in good order. For example, you will want to look at the leaves, stems, and other parts of the plant for discoloration, holes, and other signs of damage. If you find any of those signs do not use that part of the plant, or if the signs are bad enough do not use that plant at all.
- Harvest what is needed. When the harvest time first comes around, only take those parts of the plant that you need for right then. This will limit the trauma to the plan, while also helping ensure that the herbs stay fresh until you actually need it.
- Harvest and store remains. Near the end of the season, you will want to finish harvesting your herbs. If you do not need to use them all right away, you may want to consider drying them out for later use. Another option is to store them in an airtight bag and store them in your refrigerator. The only drawback to that option is that you will only be able to store them up to two weeks depending on your fridge.
Harvesting herbs doesn't have to be a difficult or overtly complicated task. Instead, take your time and do your homework before hand. Keep in mind that harvesting herbs is much like pruning any kind of plant, and should be done with care and precision. That way you do not overtly damage the plant, and you still have it around for future harvesting.
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