Nothing quite beats the aroma and taste of fresh herbs picked straight from your own garden. The perfect addition to everything from soups to stews, fresh herbs are packed with flavor and nutrients like calcium, iron, and antioxidants. While harvesting herbs is fairly straightforward, it’s important to get the timing right. If left too long, herbs will start to flower and take on a bitter taste.
To ensure your crops retain all of their amazing flavors and nutrients, follow these harvesting best practices for 5 popular herbs that can be grown with Tower Garden:
- Frequent picking (up to twice per week).
- Pick roughly 6-8 leaves.
- Pinch or cut stem tips above where plant branches.
- If production slows, harvest the entire plant by cutting stems at its base.
- Harvest frequently to encourage healthy, bushy growth.
- Harvest no more than 1/3 of the plant at a time.
- Once the plant bolts, replace it with a fresh seedling.
- If you grow dill outside, consider letting it flower. Bees and other pollinators love it!
- Harvest at 6 inches tall
- Use a sterilized pair of scissors to cut the plant's outside leaves two inches above the base of the plant.
- Harvesting half at one time will result in the same clump of chives producing multiple yields throughout the growing season.
- Cut chive plants regularly to encourage new bulblets to develop and prevent leaves from becoming tough and flowers from forming.
- Chives dry and freeze well.
- Experience full flavor and optimal nutritional eating fresh.
- Snip the bottommost leaves at the base of their stems.
- Remember to never take more than a third of a plant at once.
- To save coriander seeds, cut them from the plant and place them in a paper bag until they fully dry and fall off the stems.
- Cilantro leaves lose most of their flavor when dried. So for tastiest results, use them fresh or freeze for later.
- And if you’re cooking with cilantro, add it last to preserve the herb’s bright flavor.
- Parsley can take up to 90 days before it’s harvest-ready.
- Harvesting approximately one-third of a parsley plant at once will keep it healthy and productive. Snip off the stalks close to the base, beginning from the outside. (If just the tops are cut off and the leaf stalks remain, the plant will be less productive.)
- You should pick parsley throughout the growing season to ensure a continual harvest and prevent a leggy plant structure. It’s also wise to trim unhealthy leaf stalks at the base of the plant and discard them.