The best thing about growing herbs at home is being able to harvest them and use them for your own purposes. Home herb gardens do require some work, but they are certainly worth it.
When your herbs have grown nicely you will need to harvest them before you can use them to cook or for medicinal or aromatic purposes. You need to ensure that you get your timing right when harvesting is concerned. Herbs can be impacted by the wind and the heat, and you should always harvest them during dry periods when the wind is low – this is mainly the case if your herb garden is outdoors. It is unusual for you to get best results if you harvest your herbs on a wet day.
When you harvest your herbs you do not simply pull the entire plant from the soil and take what you need from it later. Instead you carefully select the growth that you need to suit your purposes. It is best never to harvest more than 1/3 of a plant’s foliage at one time.
When you harvest your herbs you may not be able to cook enough food or drink enough tea to use them all immediately, and this is where drying your herbs comes in handy. You may wish to dry your herbs, freeze them or preserve them in a vinegar solution to ensure that you can use them at a later date. When drying your herbs you can bundle some harvested foliage with string and keep the bundle in a dry and dark location – like a pantry.
Some herb garden enthusiasts choose to use the microwave to speed up their herb drying, but you need to be careful not to burn the plants this way. Freezing your herbs is also an option to preserve them. Just cut the herbs into small pieces and put them into a freezer-safe bag for storage. If you wish to pickle your herbs in order to preserve them you can choose to cover them in a medium like vinegar – this will preserve them for many months.
You may also choose to make a herb salt by preserving the herb plants among layers of salt and, when the herb is dry, separating the herb from the salt with a sieve and using the flavored salt on its own.
You can also just choose to only harvest as much of your herbs as you wish to use immediately, which will save you the issues of preserving your herbs. Pick your harvest and wash it with clean cool water and, if you like, place about 1 teaspoon of salt with the water to drive away any insects that may have gathered on the herb harvested plants.
Explore the ways in which you can use your herbs. Research the best times and ways to harvest each specific herb before you go disrupting the plants in your herb garden that you so lovingly assisted to grow.