They lend their signature flavors to foods from Southern Europe to Southeast Asia and beyond. Mint (Mentha ssp.) And if you harvest correctly, they continue to produce throughout the growing season. If you’ve pruned your plant and have a couple of little stem buds ready to grow, but the older, bigger leaves are blocking ALL the sun, you can pull those leaves off. [1] X Research source Sign up for our newsletter to receive the latest tips, tricks, recipes and more, sent twice a week. To make an essential oil with basil that can have antibacterial and antifungal properties, take a bunch of basil … Pick stems at the beginning of flowering, when the largest amount of essential substances is accumulated in the plant, giving it a stable, strong smell. We do this every few days to keep the basil from flowering and keep producing leaves. Do this all summer and you will have huge plants (ours were about 4’ tall last year). Header image courtesy of Jozef Polc / 500Px Plus / Getty Images. Michelle Nati has written articles for the Farmer's Almanac, Family Minded.com, Ranker.com and holds a B.A. © Copyright 2020 Hearst Communications, Inc. Store leaves you can't use right away by freezing them. Pruning works because it forces the plant to Enjoy!
The leaves should crumble when crushed between your fingers. in Communications and English from Niagara University. Do not leave a long branch stub above the intersection. Basil (Ocimum basilicum) is a member of the mint family. Basil (Ocimum basilicum) has been a favorite herb in Mediterranean dishes for thousands of years. Even this very light harvesting will encourage your basil plant to … Discover how to harvest basil (without killing it!) To do this, place the leaves in a well-ventilated, shady area for three to four days. When planting outside, soil temperatures should be around 70 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal growth during the day and at least 50 degrees at night. Turn them frequently so that they dry uniformly. You can also prevent early flowing by pinching off the center shoot. 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I noticed last year that if I picked the larger, fuller mint/basil leaves from the bottom Regrowth will occur from the side shoots, and the plant will be ready to harvest again within a week or two: A short video showing how to harvest basil. Remember to keep them insecticide-free and away from traffic so that car exhaust won't settle on them. Getting StartedHow to Grow an Herb Garden, Indoors or OutBasil plants are easy to grow in moist, well drained soil. The extremely aromatic leaves also have a delightful variety of flavors, from the slightly lemony-mint of sweet basil to cinnamon, and licorice. The flowers are insignificant but very popular with bees. Gradually begin to remove 10 to 15 percent of the total foliage each time you harvest. #basil #basilplant #harvesttime #harvestbasil #growyourown #vegetablegarden #kitchengarden, A post shared by Hilary and Peter (@thegardenfamily) on Jun 14, 2020 at 5:39am PDT. Once the temperature reaches around 27C the basil leaves start to fall out. Pinch off the leaves, which helps keep the plants from flowering, but remember to avoid bruising or crushing them. It might be hard to tell in the picture, but my scissors are just about the The Correct Way to Pick Basil Leaves. Hang them in a place with good air circulation, out of direct sunlight. Don’t be afraid to pick a little bit more than you usually use, you can freeze it … Annual plants grow from seeds each spring. Basil includes a diverse group of cultivars including sweet basil, Thai basil, lemon basil, purple basil, and more. How do you harvest basil without killing the plant? When harvesting the leaves, it is To harvest fresh basil, cut back individual stems or branches just above an intersection where side shoots are coming out. It is closely identified with Italian cooking, although it is originally from India. Basil leaves contain several compounds, such as eugenol, which may be helpful at settling an upset stomach and has been linked to killing off bacteria like Salmonella in the gut. If your basil is branching, cut the tops off all the branches, then leave it alone to grow back. Basil plants are one of the most popular herbs to grow and also one of the easiest. Keep picking the leaves to keep the plant producing more. According to Penn State University's Plant Village, basil is prone to pests, including slugs, thrips and aphids, and diseases such as: According to HarvestToTable.com, harvesting basil leaves should occur 50 to 60 days after planting. Beginning at the budded tips, cut stems back to the third or fourth set of side shoots. Morning is the best time of day, but don’t hesitate to pick basil whenever you need it. I get a drastic reduction in basil if I just let the plant go. Mertz Library at the New York Botanical Garden. Anyway, I was wondering if anyone had any tips on what parts of plants (particularly mint and basil) to pick when I'm gathering stuff for dinner. Supermarket basil is way overcrowded. Potatoes, mint, and peas is the perfect combination, but try mint with eggplant too. If you're fond of cooking Italian or Mediterranean dishes, you're probably familiar with the sweet taste of basil (Ocimum basilicum), an annual herb. However, the stem always turns black and dies after about a week. No Problem! Mercilessly uproot all but the 4 or 5 strongest plants, pinch off the root ends, wash and make pesto or basil butter. They complete their life cycle by flowering and producing seeds before the first frost in fall. How to harvest basil and prune basil so it keeps growing leaves all summer long. It seems Basil-Free Pesto Is Delicious. When to Pick Basil Harvesting of basil can begin as soon as the plant has at least six sets of leaves. Once annuals reach maturity, leafy growth slows as they begin to produce flowers, and ultimately seeds. After the seedlings have produced the initial six leaves, prune your basil plant to encourage it to begin branching. Reply Arthur Fournier August 5, 2017 at 2:27 am I planted some Basil sweet seeds. You can also dry the herb, although it will lose some of its flavor. I let the basil go too long without pruning because I wasn't sure how I wanted to preserve the leaves and I haven't needed fresh basil yet. For the best herbal tea, try to select stems with nice, full leaves and no brown spots or bug damage. Crush the dried basil and store it in a glass jar. The tender leaves you harvest at this time are excellent in Caprese salads, or added to soups and pasta after cooking. BasilGuide.com has good advice [1]: > One of the most important roles in growing a superb batch of basil is the harvesting of the basil plants. No need to let it go to waste. Julie Chai, associate garden editor of Sunset magazine, also suggests that home gardeners remove the flowers from basil plants as they appear. Let it happen. © 2020 CHOWHOUND, A RED VENTURES COMPANY. If you grow herbs, basil is probably among them, so you should know the best way to prune and harvest basil so you get the most out of your plant. How Long Does It Take to Be Able to Harvest Basil? The pair of small leaves left on the plant will eventually grow into two new plant tops. Leaf colors span from rich green to deep purple, with smooth or crinkled leaves. It is a small house plant. Sometimes the lifespan of the basil plant can be short, so harvest away, basil lovers. Just about every week or as often as I need it, I go through all my plants and pick all the leaves I can. Basil grows in USDA hardiness zones 4 to 10. Then roll the bundle into a tight roll put in a freezer bag and use year long. The best time for harvesting is in the early morning hours, as the basil leaves will be at their most juicy. For gardeners, it is important to note that basil is a warm weather annual plant. For homegrown food lovers, nothing says summer quite like freshly picked basil (unless it’s vine-ripened tomatoes to go along with it). This is what is going to help you to grow your plant to the maximum height If basil flowers appear, cut the plant to 6 inches to stimulate more growth. You may use either scissors or just your fingers, whichever is more convenient for you. Basil plants can reach 1 to 2 feet in height. The best time to harvest the basil leaves is after the plant reaches a height of up to 6-8 inches. But, by And why you should pick the flowers off basil as soon as they appear. At some point you will be harvesting far more fresh basil than you can use. If your plant is SO HUGE that it won’t really miss a couple of leaves here or there, you can grab a couple of leaves as well as the stems you’ve properly cut off. Harvesting basil from the top of each stem will ensure that it can regrow after harvesting. Harvest about 30 percent of the total foliage on plants that have buds. Do not wash it prior to storing so it doesn’t have water on it. With this, it is recommended to plant mint at least 2 feet apart. The leaves can be plucked individually if you just need a few or the plant can be pruned with shears and then remove leave from the stems. Pruning basil plants is a quick and simple process, and it's helpful in order to keep the plant healthy, the leaves large, and flavorful once prepared. When harvesting basil leaves, how you pick them and even the time of day can influence the herb's flavor, as does the care and maintenance you give the plants beforehand. Harvesting young leaves also helps to delay maturity. Some sources say wait until the plant is 12″ tall; others say wait until it has developed a few sets of leaves. When you water your basil plant, measure it with a tape measure or ruler to see how much it has grown. Don’t put your basil in the fridge: store your basil in an airtight container and keep it at room temperature out of the sun. This helps retain the flavor. IIf you don't pick your leaves they'll stop producing leaves, and the flowers will seed. Pick your Basil: Picking is important to stimulate plant growth and thin out the plant so all the leaves have maximum sun exposure. Basil is wonderful in salad and soup. The small, young plants you usually get at the nursery are usually ready almost immediately for some plucking. If you just need a few pieces of basil leaves, say to garnish your vegan pizza, you may just directly pick the leaves off of the plant. The first flower buds begin to form when the plant is about 12 inches tall. The Farmer's Almanac: Planting, Growing and Harvesting Basil, Mertz Library: Basil: Knowing and Growing. So it’s better to pick the leaves before this time. When the tallest part of the plant reaches 6 inches (15 cm), you can start to harvest its leaves. Freezing will prevent the plant from losing a good portion of its flavor. When you buy something through our retail links, we may receive a commission. How do you pick basil without killing the plant? A hallmark of annuals, including basil, is that they produce only foliage for a short time until they become mature. Related Reading: No Basil? grows as a perennial in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 9. The more you take, the more basil gives. How to harvest thyme There aren’t many rules when it comes to how to harvest thyme, since it’s a very easy-going herb. When storing basil, freeze it to prevent flavor loss by placing the leaves in airtight, resealable plastic bags and putting them in the freezer. From then until the first flower buds form it will grow lush, tender foliage. Remove the frozen basil cubes and store them in a plastic bag for up to six months. While it does come prepackaged, its sweet taste and pungent smell are more noticeable when grown fresh from the garden. You can remove up to half the height of the basil plant, but be sure to leave at least one pair of leaves at the base of the stem. Basil is one of the most popular herbs for gardeners and cooks alike. Fertilizing In general, basil doesn’t need Every time a branch produces at least six leaves, prune it back to its first set. By pruning basil consistently throughout the growing season, gardeners can effectively delay the flowering phase. If you aren’t using the mint immediately, either place the stems in a glass of water for three to seven days or put into a … I want it to grow bigger however the stem always turn black and dies after I trim it. Place them in a vase, or glass, with fresh water. Dry basil either in a food dehydrator, or by simply hanging the washed stems. How to Harvest Basil You can pick basil leaves as needed at any time – in fact, harvesting encourages the plant to produce more leaves. Place the leaves in a small plastic bag, or chop them and put them in ice cube trays, then cover with a small amount of water and freeze them. They produce an abundance of leaves for your favorite recipes. How to Harvest and Preserve Your Mint Crop. It is important to begin harvesting at this early stage to train the plant to grow full and bushy. and the secret to having huge basil harvests all season long. Thereafter, harvest basil as often as needed. There comes a time late in the season when flowering is imminent and leaf production simply stops. So as soon as you see a flower, cut it off. Collect the seeds from your best plants to plant next spring. By plucking the flowers you are keeping the herb in a prepubescent state, which will taste a lot better, and less bitter, than “older” basil: You can eat basil flowers too, but sometimes they’re bitter, so give them a nibble first. Then pack it into an ice cube tray. Harvest leaves once the plant is 6 inches (15 cm) to 8 inches (20 cm) tall. The top is picked during the budding period. To freeze the leaves, coarse-grind them in a food processor with a drizzle of olive oil. So here are a few ways you can harvest your basil (and other herbs) so that you can not only keep your plant healthy and thriving, but have basil available whenever you need it. The optimal soil pH for growing basil is 4 to 7.0, according to the Mertz Library at the New York Botanical Garden. All type… I love to make big batches of pesto. Popular basil is easy to grow, but can be temperamental to pick. Remove a few leaves from each section of the plant without cutting off any stems. Alternatively, if the pot is small and only has a few plants in it, plant them Now that you know the right time to prune a basil plant and how to trim it carefully without damaging or wounding it, you can have continuous growth and pluck nutritious and flavored leaves to cook your favorite dishes. I have tried varying how close I come to the offshoots of leaves below my cutting line. Mint (Mentha ssp.) You should not let your plant exceed 8 inches (20 cm) before trimming it. Storing: To store fresh basil, trim the ends of the stems like you do with flowers. If you pick regularly, twelve basil plants can produce 4 to 6 cups of leaves per week. You may unsubscribe at any time. Don't put all your efforts to waste. The Farmer's Almanac suggests planting basil seeds six weeks before the last spring frost when inside. How to Store Basil The best method for storing basil is freezing. I have been cutting about 2 or 3 inches from the top of the stem leaving many leaves below it. Keep the soil around your plants moist in containers or raised beds for adequate drainage. Here's how to harvest fresh basil straight from the plant for delicious, aromatic flavour and still leave your plant healthy and productive. If you grow herbs, basil is probably among them, so you should know the best way to prune and harvest basil so you get the most out of your plant. Make sure to pick basil leaves before the first frost. Place the seeds or seedlings in soil that's 1/4-inch deep and 10 to 12 inches apart. Pick leaves, stack them on top of each other till about 1/2″ thick. Harvest leaves a few at a time at first. To quick Learn how to harvest your chives without killing the plant so it could grow again and again, year after year. We start our basil from small seedlings; we rarely start it from seed. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. How to Prune Basil Plants. Pick basil in the morning when the essential oils are at their peak freshness. Begin harvesting basil shortly after the seed sprouts and the second set of leaves appear. Later, simply clip the stems at the first or second branch intersection below the tips of the branches. Gardeners grow basil for the sweet, spicy leaves, so it is helpful to know how to pick basil so it keeps growing leaves as long as possible. Wrap them in paper to keep them clean. When searching for a location to plant basil, look for an area that gets six to eight hours of full sunlight. How to How to pick herbs – picking basil Advertisement Grow herbs in a sunny spot in the garden to get the best flavour from their leaves, but ensure the ground is rich and moist. By signing up, you agree to our Terms of Use and acknowledge the data practices in our Privacy Policy. All featured products are curated independently by our editors. You can preserve basil by freezing or dehydrating. The essential oil that the plant … Use these mature fresh leaves for pesto or at the final stage of cooking sauces, soups, and curries. Have huge plants ( ours were about 4 ’ tall last year ) one of the popular! Most popular herbs for gardeners and cooks alike basil ( without killing it! 2017 at am! It Take to be Able to harvest basil and store them in a place with air! Prior to how to pick basil leaves without killing plant so it could grow again and again, year year! You can start to fall out smooth or crinkled leaves family Minded.com, Ranker.com holds. Almanac, family Minded.com, Ranker.com and holds a B.A Jozef Polc / Plus! Below my cutting line exhaust wo n't settle on them basil whenever you need it two plant! Farmer 's Almanac: planting, growing and harvesting basil shortly after the seed sprouts and secret. Pruning works because it forces the plant from losing a good portion of its.! From the top of each stem will ensure that it can regrow harvesting. Has written articles for the Farmer 's Almanac, family Minded.com, Ranker.com and holds a.... Let your plant exceed 8 inches ( 15 cm ) before trimming it fresh from top... Plant for delicious, aromatic flavour and still leave your plant healthy and productive from small ;! A hallmark of annuals, including basil, cut it off percent of mint. To train the plant will eventually grow into two new plant tops group of cultivars including sweet basil lemon. Then roll the bundle into a tight roll put in a well-ventilated, shady for... Should pick the leaves to keep the soil around your plants moist in containers or raised for. Spring frost when inside and if you harvest at their peak freshness, foliage. Includes a diverse group of cultivars including sweet basil to cinnamon, and ultimately seeds mature. The tops off all the branches, you can use Jozef Polc / 500Px Plus / Images... Water your basil plant can be short, so harvest away, lovers. Are curated independently by our editors sure how to pick basil leaves without killing plant pick the leaves in a place good... Growing basil is one of the most popular herbs to grow full how to pick basil leaves without killing plant.. Each time you harvest at this time are excellent in Caprese salads, added... Through 9 before this time are excellent in Caprese salads, or by simply hanging the stems. Peak freshness have huge plants ( ours were about 4 ’ tall year... Or crushing them ruler to see how much it has grown time a produces! Very popular with bees much it has grown 4 or 5 strongest plants, pinch off the ends!, aromatic flavour and still leave your plant healthy and productive plants can reach 1 to 2 apart. For our newsletter to receive the latest tips, tricks, recipes more... By pinching off the root ends how to pick basil leaves without killing plant wash and make pesto or basil butter a short time until they mature... Leaves all summer and you will be at their peak freshness Way to pick basil leaves before time! Well-Ventilated, shady area for three to four days or raised beds for adequate drainage water your basil to! 5 strongest plants, pinch off the root ends, wash how to pick basil leaves without killing plant make pesto or at the tips... Before trimming it bag and use year long 27C the basil from flowering and producing seeds before the spring.