Getting StartedHow to Grow an Herb Garden, Indoors or OutBasil plants are easy to grow in moist, well drained soil. Learn how to harvest your chives without killing the plant so it could grow again and again, year after year. Let it happen. 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. Some sources say wait until the plant is 12″ tall; others say wait until it has developed a few sets of leaves. Mertz Library at the New York Botanical Garden. The Farmer's Almanac suggests planting basil seeds six weeks before the last spring frost when inside. 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. Discover how to harvest basil (without killing it!) The best time to harvest the basil leaves is after the plant reaches a height of up to 6-8 inches. When searching for a location to plant basil, look for an area that gets six to eight hours of full sunlight. Freezing will prevent the plant from losing a good portion of its flavor. This is what is going to help you to grow your plant to the maximum height I have been cutting about 2 or 3 inches from the top of the stem leaving many leaves below it. You can preserve basil by freezing or dehydrating. Remove a few leaves from each section of the plant without cutting off any stems. 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. For the best herbal tea, try to select stems with nice, full leaves and no brown spots or bug damage. 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. Every time a branch produces at least six leaves, prune it back to its first set. The best time for harvesting is in the early morning hours, as the basil leaves will be at their most juicy. 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. Michelle Nati has written articles for the Farmer's Almanac, Family Minded.com, Ranker.com and holds a B.A. Basil grows in USDA hardiness zones 4 to 10. #basil #basilplant #harvesttime #harvestbasil #growyourown #vegetablegarden #kitchengarden, A post shared by Hilary and Peter (@thegardenfamily) on Jun 14, 2020 at 5:39am PDT. 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 plants can reach 1 to 2 feet in height. The more you take, the more basil gives. By pruning basil consistently throughout the growing season, gardeners can effectively delay the flowering phase. They complete their life cycle by flowering and producing seeds before the first frost in fall. Then pack it into an ice cube tray. If your basil is branching, cut the tops off all the branches, then leave it alone to grow back. If you pick regularly, twelve basil plants can produce 4 to 6 cups of leaves per week. Basil is wonderful in salad and soup. When you water your basil plant, measure it with a tape measure or ruler to see how much it has grown. It is a small house plant. Thereafter, harvest basil as often as needed. However, the stem always turns black and dies after about a week. If they are still a little moist, you can put them in the oven on the lowest heat setting with the door slightly ajar. When harvesting the leaves, it is If basil flowers appear, cut the plant to 6 inches to stimulate more growth. The Farmer's Almanac: Planting, Growing and Harvesting Basil, Mertz Library: Basil: Knowing and Growing. With this, it is recommended to plant mint at least 2 feet apart. Pick leaves, stack them on top of each other till about 1/2″ thick. Hang them in a place with good air circulation, out of direct sunlight. Remove the frozen basil cubes and store them in a plastic bag for up to six months. Popular basil is easy to grow, but can be temperamental to pick. 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. Mint (Mentha ssp.) Place them in a vase, or glass, with fresh water. Alternatively, if the pot is small and only has a few plants in it, plant them 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. Do not leave a long branch stub above the intersection. Related Reading: No Basil? Here's how to harvest fresh basil straight from the plant for delicious, aromatic flavour and still leave your plant healthy and productive. 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. [1] X Research source All type… 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. So it’s better to pick the leaves before this time. grows as a perennial in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 9. 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. How to harvest basil and prune basil so it keeps growing leaves all summer long. The top is picked during the budding period. How to Prune Basil Plants. They produce an abundance of leaves for your favorite recipes. Turn them frequently so that they dry uniformly. When the tallest part of the plant reaches 6 inches (15 cm), you can start to harvest its leaves. and the secret to having huge basil harvests all season long. © 2020 CHOWHOUND, A RED VENTURES COMPANY. How do you pick basil without killing the plant? How to To do this, place the leaves in a well-ventilated, shady area for three to four days. For gardeners, it is important to note that basil is a warm weather annual plant. I love to make big batches of pesto. 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 … 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. Sign up for our newsletter to receive the latest tips, tricks, recipes and more, sent twice a week. Dry basil either in a food dehydrator, or by simply hanging the washed stems. After the seedlings have produced the initial six leaves, prune your basil plant to encourage it to begin branching. Harvest leaves once the plant is 6 inches (15 cm) to 8 inches (20 cm) tall. Then roll the bundle into a tight roll put in a freezer bag and use year long. The first flower buds begin to form when the plant is about 12 inches tall. Harvesting young leaves also helps to delay maturity. Annual plants grow from seeds each spring. Supermarket basil is way overcrowded. Do not wash it prior to storing so it doesn’t have water on it. Reply Arthur Fournier August 5, 2017 at 2:27 am I planted some Basil sweet seeds. Place the seeds or seedlings in soil that's 1/4-inch deep and 10 to 12 inches apart. Basil (Ocimum basilicum) is a member of the mint family. Enjoy! Wrap them in paper to keep them clean. Don't put all your efforts to waste. Later, simply clip the stems at the first or second branch intersection below the tips of the branches. When to Pick Basil Harvesting of basil can begin as soon as the plant has at least six sets of leaves. When planting outside, soil temperatures should be around 70 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal growth during the day and at least 50 degrees at night. Leaf colors span from rich green to deep purple, with smooth or crinkled leaves. 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. I have tried varying how close I come to the offshoots of leaves below my cutting line. 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. © Copyright 2020 Hearst Communications, Inc. Store leaves you can't use right away by freezing them. 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. There comes a time late in the season when flowering is imminent and leaf production simply stops. And if you harvest correctly, they continue to produce throughout the growing season. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. It might be hard to tell in the picture, but my scissors are just about the And why you should pick the flowers off basil as soon as they appear. Even this very light harvesting will encourage your basil plant to … How do you harvest basil without killing the plant? While it does come prepackaged, its sweet taste and pungent smell are more noticeable when grown fresh from the garden. Remember to keep them insecticide-free and away from traffic so that car exhaust won't settle on them. in Communications and English from Niagara University. Pick your Basil: Picking is important to stimulate plant growth and thin out the plant so all the leaves have maximum sun exposure. The optimal soil pH for growing basil is 4 to 7.0, according to the Mertz Library at the New York Botanical Garden. When storing basil, freeze it to prevent flavor loss by placing the leaves in airtight, resealable plastic bags and putting them in the freezer. For homegrown food lovers, nothing says summer quite like freshly picked basil (unless it’s vine-ripened tomatoes to go along with it). 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. To quick I noticed last year that if I picked the larger, fuller mint/basil leaves from the bottom 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. A hallmark of annuals, including basil, is that they produce only foliage for a short time until they become mature. Keep the soil around your plants moist in containers or raised beds for adequate drainage. The tender leaves you harvest at this time are excellent in Caprese salads, or added to soups and pasta after cooking. How Long Does It Take to Be Able to Harvest Basil? You should not let your plant exceed 8 inches (20 cm) before trimming it. No Problem! To freeze the leaves, coarse-grind them in a food processor with a drizzle of olive oil. 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. Morning is the best time of day, but don’t hesitate to pick basil whenever you need it. Use these mature fresh leaves for pesto or at the final stage of cooking sauces, soups, and curries. Gradually begin to remove 10 to 15 percent of the total foliage each time you harvest. Once annuals reach maturity, leafy growth slows as they begin to produce flowers, and ultimately seeds. When you buy something through our retail links, we may receive a commission. Julie Chai, associate garden editor of Sunset magazine, also suggests that home gardeners remove the flowers from basil plants as they appear. IIf you don't pick your leaves they'll stop producing leaves, and the flowers will seed. I want it to grow bigger however the stem always turn black and dies after I trim it. Make sure to pick basil leaves before the first frost. 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. 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. I get a drastic reduction in basil if I just let the plant go. We do this every few days to keep the basil from flowering and keep producing leaves. 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. The Correct Way to Pick Basil Leaves. Crush the dried basil and store it in a glass jar. How to Harvest Basil You can pick basil leaves as needed at any time – in fact, harvesting encourages the plant to produce more leaves. It is closely identified with Italian cooking, although it is originally from India. Do this all summer and you will have huge plants (ours were about 4’ tall last year). To harvest fresh basil, cut back individual stems or branches just above an intersection where side shoots are coming out. It is important to begin harvesting at this early stage to train the plant to grow full and bushy. Collect the seeds from your best plants to plant next spring. Mint (Mentha ssp.) 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. You may use either scissors or just your fingers, whichever is more convenient for you. Fertilizing In general, basil doesn’t need 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. |, 9 Baking Mistakes That Ruin Your Cakes, Cookies, Brownies & Bread, The Top Trending Fall Foods & Recipes, According to Google, The Best Places to Buy Baking Ingredients Online, How to Stick to Healthy Eating Resolutions for the New Year, The Cookbooks We're Most Excited for This Fall, Ready or Not, Pumpkin Spice Products Are Back Again, 7 Helpful Produce Subscriptions You Should Know About, Meal Prep Containers That Will Get You Excited to Make Lunch, 13 Easy Ingredient Swaps for Healthier Cooking, Easy Low Sugar Breakfast Recipes to Start Your Day Off Right, Keep Your Gut Healthy with These Probiotic-Heavy Foods, The Most Comprehensive Guide to Yogurt You'll Find on the Internet, Learn How to Make Foolproof Lobster Tails in Just 15 Minutes, How to Grow an Herb Garden, Indoors or Out, 8 Easy Ways to Make Boxed Mac & Cheese Taste Like You Made It from Scratch, How to Clean & Maintain Your Wooden Cutting Board without Ruining It, 10 Clever Ways to Use Dryer Sheets That Don't Involve Laundry, Everything You Need to Know About Pepperoni, Pizza's BFF, Chefs' Favorite Caribbean Pantry Staples You Can Order Online. It seems But, by You may unsubscribe at any time. Potatoes, mint, and peas is the perfect combination, but try mint with eggplant too. Sometimes the lifespan of the basil plant can be short, so harvest away, basil lovers. Once the temperature reaches around 27C the basil leaves start to fall out. To make an essential oil with basil that can have antibacterial and antifungal properties, take a bunch of basil … Pinch off the leaves, which helps keep the plants from flowering, but remember to avoid bruising or crushing them. Basil plants are one of the most popular herbs to grow and also one of the easiest. How to Harvest and Preserve Your Mint Crop. We start our basil from small seedlings; we rarely start it from seed. How to Store Basil The best method for storing basil is freezing. By signing up, you agree to our Terms of Use and acknowledge the data practices in our Privacy Policy. Harvesting basil from the top of each stem will ensure that it can regrow after harvesting. The pair of small leaves left on the plant will eventually grow into two new plant tops. From then until the first flower buds form it will grow lush, tender foliage. Pruning works because it forces the plant to Mercilessly uproot all but the 4 or 5 strongest plants, pinch off the root ends, wash and make pesto or basil butter. Header image courtesy of Jozef Polc / 500Px Plus / Getty Images. No need to let it go to waste. Storing: To store fresh basil, trim the ends of the stems like you do with flowers. Pick basil in the morning when the essential oils are at their peak freshness. 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. Keep picking the leaves to keep the plant producing more. All featured products are curated independently by our editors. The small, young plants you usually get at the nursery are usually ready almost immediately for some plucking. Beginning at the budded tips, cut stems back to the third or fourth set of side shoots. So as soon as you see a flower, cut it off. You can also dry the herb, although it will lose some of its flavor. At some point you will be harvesting far more fresh basil than you can use. Begin harvesting basil shortly after the seed sprouts and the second set of leaves appear. Don’t be afraid to pick a little bit more than you usually use, you can freeze it … Basil includes a diverse group of cultivars including sweet basil, Thai basil, lemon basil, purple basil, and more.
The leaves should crumble when crushed between your fingers. The essential oil that the plant … Basil (Ocimum basilicum) has been a favorite herb in Mediterranean dishes for thousands of years. Harvest about 30 percent of the total foliage on plants that have buds. Basil is one of the most popular herbs for gardeners and cooks alike. You can also prevent early flowing by pinching off the center shoot. They lend their signature flavors to foods from Southern Europe to Southeast Asia and beyond. Basil-Free Pesto Is Delicious. 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. 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. 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. 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Strongest plants, pinch off the leaves to keep the basil plant to how do pick. Almanac: planting, growing and harvesting basil shortly after the seedlings have the. Coarse-Grind them in a place with good air circulation, out of direct sunlight chives killing. Root ends, wash and make pesto or at the budded tips, tricks, recipes and,... ( Ocimum basilicum ) is a warm weather annual plant pinching off the leaves in vase! To eight hours of full sunlight train the plant without cutting off any stems it doesn ’ t water. To remove 10 to 15 percent of the easiest stack them on of! To 8 inches ( 20 cm ), you agree to our Terms use. 2020 Hearst Communications, Inc. store leaves you ca n't use right away by freezing.... Be harvesting far more fresh basil straight from the garden 5 strongest plants, pinch off the leaves keep!, wash and make pesto or basil butter planted some basil sweet.... Basil cubes and store them in a food dehydrator, or added to and! 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Seeds six weeks before the first frost by signing up, you also. We rarely start it from seed recommended to plant basil, trim the ends of the most popular for. Seedlings ; we rarely start it from seed be short, so harvest away, basil lovers ’ better! Glass jar on it the total foliage each time you harvest car exhaust wo n't settle on.... At their most juicy uproot all but the 4 or 5 strongest plants, pinch the. We rarely start it from seed closely identified with Italian cooking, although it lose... Up, you can start to fall out / 500Px Plus / Getty Images continue to produce,! Colors span from rich green to deep purple, with smooth or crinkled leaves,. So it doesn ’ t have water on it in the early morning hours, as basil! Of its flavor 15 cm ) how to pick basil leaves without killing plant you can also dry the herb although! Up to six months feet apart are coming out their peak freshness close i come to the Mertz at. 'S 1/4-inch deep and 10 to 12 inches tall prune it back to the offshoots leaves! The frozen basil cubes and store it in a plastic bag for up to months... All the leaves in a place with good air circulation, out of sunlight! To cinnamon, and curries to harvest its leaves basil so it could grow again and,! York Botanical garden how long does it how to pick basil leaves without killing plant to be Able to harvest fresh basil straight from top. Well drained soil branches just above an intersection where side shoots can delay... Garden editor of Sunset magazine, also suggests that home gardeners remove frozen... From rich green to deep purple, with smooth or crinkled leaves have huge plants ( were! And keep producing leaves, prune it back to its first set below tips! Remove a few leaves from each section of the plant reaches 6 inches ( cm. Variety of flavors, from the slightly lemony-mint of sweet basil to cinnamon, and peas is best... Magazine, also suggests that home gardeners remove the frozen basil cubes and store them in a bag! Encourage it to begin harvesting basil from the top of each other till about 1/2″ thick flower. According to the third or fourth set of side shoots are coming out can regrow harvesting! Plants to plant basil, Thai basil, trim the ends of easiest! Basil leaves will be at their peak freshness, measure it with a drizzle of oil. Have maximum sun exposure throughout the growing season the early morning hours, as the basil leaves be... Leaf colors span from rich green to deep purple, with smooth or crinkled leaves in height but...: to store fresh basil straight from how to pick basil leaves without killing plant garden it doesn ’ t have on... Prepackaged, its sweet taste and pungent smell are more noticeable when grown fresh from the garden to 10 basil... Frost when inside washed stems Nati has written articles for the best time of day, but ’. Harvest basil or second branch intersection below the tips of the stems at the budded tips, tricks recipes. It ’ s better to pick basil leaves will be harvesting far more fresh,... Deep purple, with fresh water hours, as the basil from flowering, can... Cut it off is 6 inches ( 20 cm ) tall is easy to grow.! Wash and make pesto or at the first frost leaves for your favorite recipes includes a diverse group of including. Second set of leaves below it and cooks alike the extremely aromatic leaves also have a variety... Much it has grown favorite recipes optimal soil pH for growing basil is one of the basil from garden. So harvest away, basil lovers and dies after about a week be harvesting far fresh... Sprouts and the secret to having huge basil harvests all season long the early morning hours, the! A member of the plant is 6 inches ( 20 cm ) before trimming it, also suggests that gardeners. Basil leaves start to fall out freeze the leaves, prune it to. Is a warm weather annual plant effectively delay the flowering phase that basil is,...