The Q&A Archives: Harvesting Herbs

Question: I have tried year after year to grow herbs, usually basil and oregano. The plants thrive but then after I harvest some of the leaves, they are never quite the same. I usually pinch them with my fingers.

Answer: I wonder if you're accidentally bruising the stems when you harvest your herbs? Sometimes it's best to snip the stems with a pair of scissors. A clean cut will heal quickly, and the act of snipping the growing tips promotes new stem and leaf growth on the remaining portion of the stem.

With both the basil and oregano, try harvesting frequently rather than waiting until late in the season. You can snip sprigs from spring through summer. In fact, oregano sprigs can be harvested when the plant is only 6 inches high, and you can continue snipping the leaves and stems throughout the summer months.

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