How to harvest indoor herb plants

How to harvest indoor herb plants

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While chiefly grown for seasoning foods, herbs have many other uses. Their oils and fragrances are in cosmetics, perfumes, dyes and potpourris. Their medicinal properties are a focus of research worldwide. Some people use herbal materials in dried flower arrangements and related crafts. Many culinary herbs grown in Minnesota are members of two plant families, mint and carrot. The mint family, Lamiaceae, includes basil, oregano, marjoram, catnip, all the mints, as well as rosemary, thyme, lavender, summer savory and sage.

  • Growing Herbs Indoors over Winter
  • Herbs: growing
  • Light/Indoor Gardens
  • Grilling and Summer How-Tos
  • Growing Herbs – Tip Sheet #8
  • ‘How to’? Create a Windowsill Herb Garden
  • 13 herbs to grow in your kitchen, with tips on getting started and keeping them growing
  • Grow herbs!
WATCH RELATED VIDEO: How to Prune Gourmet Herbs Seed Pod Kit

Growing Herbs Indoors over Winter

Herbs are delicious and fragrant additions to a garden, whether a dedicated kitchen garden or as ornamental and edible accents in vegetable and flower gardens. But herbs can also be grown inside your home, protected from the elements and even closer to your kitchen. Connect with us at askunhextension on Facebook , Instagram and Twitter and subscribe to the monthly G ranite State Gardening newsletter.

Email us questions, suggestions and feedback at gsg. Nate B Greetings Granite State gardeners. If you dream of having fresh herbs at the tips of your fingertips year round you have tuned into the right podcast. We'll go well below the surface level on growing herbs indoors, leaving no stone unturned and sharing proven tips and solutions for helping your indoor herbs thrive.

Let's get into it. Emma we're talking about growing herbs indoors today, a really natural place to start is what herbs do grow well indoors, what herbs aren't going to grow well indoors? Emma E it's an important distinction to make, because some things can be grown really successfully indoors, and some obviously can't. The way I like to think about it is dividing herbs up, first off based on their growth habits.

So you have herbs that are either perennial, annual, or biannual. And in my experience, I have some good success with some of the annual herbs, as well as some of the tender perennial herbs bringing them indoors. Nate B I guess another distinction that I think of is what you actually do with the herbs. I think of culinary herbs and medicinal herbs. And it seems to me that what I really want inside my house other is culinary herbs, because it's really just an even more convenient kitchen garden, I really just want to be able to go and chop some herbs, you know, any time of year, and be able to, to work with them in my kitchen.

And that's kind of frustrating during the winter. Because we get spoiled over the summer. You know, for me, especially I love going and harvesting cilantro. So that's, that's my motivation, I want to be able to harvest herbs like that all year round.

Emma E Oh, I'm with you. Yeah, culinary herbs are definitely where it's at in terms of trying to grow things indoors, think of you know what you're going to use over the winter the most. And then try to figure out you know, whether it makes sense to grow that indoors or not. So for me culinary herbs that makes sense anyways, to try to grow indoors are basil and cilantro. And those are two herbs that I use all the time. Those are also really easy to start from seed, they're annuals.

So they are going to complete their lifecycle pretty quickly, you know, if they're outdoors just within a single growing season. And by that, I mean they're going to go from seed to flowering to producing seed in a single year, and then they're going to die after they've produced that seed. So these work really well indoors, I think just because they do grow so quickly. So you can be harvesting a lot, you can be planting these things successfully and having them go for quite a long time.

Some of the tender perennial herbs, I think work really well for this too. So if you're wondering what those are, like rosemary, lavender Bay Laurel are just a few examples. And these are plants that wouldn't survive outside if you left them out there to begin with, but you can bring them inside in the winter, you're not gonna be able to collect a whole lot from them, but you'll at least be able to maybe grab a sprig here or there throughout the winter months.

It's time to the featured question, the part of this podcast where we answer something our audience has been wondering about. This week, I want to talk about germination testing. Most gardeners probably end up with some leftover seeds after the gardening season, or they've saved their own seeds. And they want to know whether those seeds are still good or not or whether they need to order new ones. Fortunately, it's really easy to do a germination test at home to figure out what percentage of those seeds are viable.

So all you're going to need to do this is paper towels, plastic bags, and a warm location in your home. So to start, what you're going to need to do is damp in a paper towel. I find that using a spray bottle is the easiest way to do this.

So lay your towel out. Next, you're going to take the seeds that you have and evenly spaced at least 10 in straight rows about an inch from the top of the towel. The more seeds you use, the more accurate results are going to be. But I'd use 10 as a baseline. After that, all you need to do is fold the bottom of the paper towel over the seeds, then roll it up and place it inside of the plastic bag.

This doesn't need to be a real hard process, you just want to make sure that those seeds are staying in place and evenly spaced within that paper towel.

Once you have the seeds in the bag, you're going to move them to a warm location that's out of direct light. For me in my home, I find that the top of the refrigerator is the perfect place for this. Now, after you've waited, let's say three to five days, go into that plastic bag and just check the seeds to see if anybody has started germinating. The test is going to run until either all of the seeds have germinated or the typical number of days to germination has passed.

So if your seed packet says seeds germinate in seven to 14 days, then after 14 days your test is totally finished.

But it's possible the seeds might germinate earlier. Once you've finished your test. Once that amount of time has gone by, all you need to do is divide the number of sprouted seeds by the total number of seeds in the test and multiply that bySo if I started with 10 seeds, and six of them germinated, I divide six byMultiply that byNow if the percentage is pretty low with your germination test, then you may want to order new seed.

One thing you should note is that germination rate tends to be much higher indoors in a controlled environment than when seeds are sold in the garden. But no reason not to at least try out old seeds that you might have left behind, you might be surprised, they might still be viable. So a germination test is a really helpful thing. Nate B So for those tender perennials, if you're growing rosemary, lavender or something like that, there's kind of two ways to do it, right, either in the ground, actually in your garden, or in a container, I would think that if you plan on bringing them inside over the winter, you're probably not going to want to dig it up.

So it might make sense to just grow it in a container that can go inside and out year round. Emma E To me, that makes a lot of sense. And actually, in practice tends to work a little bit better if you have plants already in pots. So like you said, some of these things might be nice if you have an herb garden that's actually in the ground to plant a Rosemary plant in the garden.

But if you want to be bringing that plant inside, once the season's over, it is going to be a bit easier on that plant itself. If it's been growing in a container all the way along. I think a big reason for this is that you have to seriously disrupt the root system, when you dig that plant up to bring it indoors. And that transition from outdoors to indoors can already be kind of tough on a plant.

So when you've removed a good part of its root system or stressed it out in a way, it tends to not be quite as successful. So what I do with some of these things, so these tender perennials, the plants that can survive for years and years and years, but our climate in New Hampshire is just too cold for them to be able to grow outdoors, as I plant them in pots to begin with.

So that for me is rosemary, definitely lavender, perhaps lemon verbena, the bay Laurel that I mentioned, and actually some varieties of sage to other perennial plants that I'll mention that can potentially grow okay indoors are chives, and mint, and possibly lemon balm. These are plants that aren't gonna grow the whole winter at some point they probably are gonna go dormant.

But they they are adapted to shade your locations so they can come inside and do all right. Nate B I've noticed I haven't heard you talk about two of my favorite kitchen herbs, thyme and oregano.

Can you grow those indoors? Emma E Thyme and oregano are tough. I'd say if you have a greenhouse in your home where that's gonna get full, full direct sun, then you might be able to grow those pretty well. But if you're just trying to grow inside your house, you're probably not going to have quite enough light to keep those happy. The other thing too is that most perennial plants that are temperate meaning they grow in colder climates like New Hampshire are going to want to go dormant In the winter, and that's triggered by cooler temperatures, which, obviously you're not going to have inside your home.

But it can also be triggered by changes in baling. So these obviously start getting shorter when we get into the fall and winter. And that triggers a lot of these plants to bring a lot of their energy down from their leaves and stems into their root system, because they've adapted to grow in climates, where they need to go dormant to survive a certain, you know, a winter period.

So these guys, even if you bring them in, even if they have plenty of light, plenty of water, they do tend to die back. And in my opinion, it's not really worth bringing them inside at all, I would much rather just plant them in my garden, they're plenty hearty enough to have outside. And if I feel like I need to have, you know, plenty of my own herbs through the winter, then I'll just harvest a bunch and dry them or preserve them in some ways that I can enjoy them through the winter, until they start growing again in the spring.

Nate B So going back to those tender perennials, again, rosemary, lavender, some types of sage, you don't want them to go dormant when you bring them inside your house because you want to keep harvesting them right.

So is that just gonna come down to light? You know, making sure they're in a bright window? Do you need to potentially provide supplemental lighting? How do you keep them going? Emma E That is a really good question. So it's gonna actually depend a little bit based on what you're trying to grow, and where that plant grows naturally in the wild. So let's look at rosemary, for example. This is a plant that's native to the Mediterranean, where there's going to be a mild climate year round, plenty of light year round.

And it's not ever going to totally go dormant. Growth is going to slow a lot, I mean, basically come to a stop.

But the plants not going to lose its leaves, which is what we often think of with dormancy.

Herbs: growing

When spicing up a meal, nothing really matches the zing that a bunch of freshly-cut herbs straight from your kitchen can offer. And the best part? Before heading down to your local nursery to pick up a bunch of herbs, it pays to decide where you're going to put them first. Pick a spot on or near your kitchen bench with lots of sun. They'll be getting all their light through the window, so there's no real risk of sunburn just make sure none of their leaves are touching the glass , and having them near your cooking area makes it easier for you to pick a few leaves when preparing a meal. Indoor or not, some herbs - looking at you, basil - struggle to grow unless their very specific temperature requirements are met. Other herbs, such as rosemary and thyme, are hardier and require less management, so speak to the plant expert at your local nursery to determine which herbs are right for you and your home.

The AeroGarden Harvest Elite lets you grow fresh herbs and vegetables during any season without needing an outdoor space or direct sunlight.

Light/Indoor Gardens

You don't need a backyard to grow lush basil, parsley, and other tasty herbs. A kitchen windowsill herb garden brings nature indoors while also bringing fresh flavors to anything you cook. You can start your garden either with seeds or small plants, but keep in mind that seeds, though more affordable, involve more work and take longer to grow than a young plant. While a windowsill in the kitchen is most convenient for its proximity to meal prep, any window in your home will work. Ready to start planting? Check out a few tips to get you started. If you plan to start your kitchen herb garden from seeds , make sure to read your seed packets carefully for detailed planting instructions. Generally, you'll need to start the seeds indoors about six to eight weeks before the last frost.

Grilling and Summer How-Tos

Most herbs are easy to grow in garden beds and containers and can be harvested throughout the summer months. Keep reading to find out more about how to harvest herbs. For culinary herbs, there are typically three parts we harvest — the leaves, the flowers, or the seeds. This means harvesting at the right time of year and the right time of day.

If you want them to grow correctly, you need to know how to care for them to ensure they grow back after harvesting.

Growing Herbs – Tip Sheet #8

To keep the fresh taste of your garden herbs alive in your wintertime meals and to keep a little gardening in your life, too , relocate them indoors when temperatures drop. With a little preparation, nearly all of your herbs can be rehoused inside for the winter to be enjoyed year after year. Most herbs, after they are established, need minimal care and can flourish indoors through the cold winter months. Herbs that are already in containers are the easiest to bring inside; they just need a little TLC to accommodate the change. But bringing plants that are rooted in garden beds into indoor pots is totally doable, too. The goal is to bring your herbs, not pests, indoors.

‘How to’? Create a Windowsill Herb Garden

Culinary herbs are the original cut-and-come-again crop, and many benefit from regular pickings. Find out how to pick herbs from annual and perennial herbs, for the very best results, below. Chives grow quickly in spring and summer. Cut as you need them for use, trimming right down to the base. Keep four or five pots at the ready, so you always have some at different stages to harvest. When cutting parsley, always remove the whole leaf, together with the leaf stalk, nipping it back to where it joins the clump. Avoid harvesting the oldest leaves as these tend to be tough. Cutting rosemary for culinary use will prevent the plant from becoming woody.

Tips on using herbs from your indoor garden: Use your herbs often. Cutting or picking the leaves will encourage growth. Finely chop or cut your.

13 herbs to grow in your kitchen, with tips on getting started and keeping them growing

Growing herbs from seed is a low-cost way to have fresh herbs for your cooking, with one packet of seeds usually containing enough for a few pots of herbs. Lots of herbs will grow very well on a windowsill indoors. You could focus on growing the herbs that you already use the most in your cooking, or try something completely new.

Grow herbs!

Cooking with fresh herbs is one of the joys of having a garden. But many herbs die down and become dormant over autumn and winter. The good news is that there are tricks to keep the plants going through the colder months, and give you fresh supplies until Christmas and beyond. Some plants grow through the colder months regardless. Mint, parsley and rosemary are all hardy plants that will survive even in the snow.

Last Updated: December 14, By Virginia. Herbs can easily be grown indoors as long as you make sure to get started off the right way.

Donate Join 4-H Eat Healthy. All Extension programming is being conducted consistent with the latest official state guidance. If this office is not open to the public, we are available during normal business hours via email, phone, and web conference. Soil preparation for an herb garden is not too different from that for a vegetable garden. Most herbs will not do well in poorly drained clay soils unless a lot of work is done to improve drainage and tilth.

An indoor herb garden can easily provide garnishes, spices, and fresh sprigs to your cooking — always on hand, right in your kitchen. You can grow all herbs indoors! Fortunately, all herbs are covered by just two groupings: ones that like rocky, dry soil and ones that like rich, moist soil.