Answer: If you just need a single leaf or two at a time, the plant will not miss them--just take them and pinch the plant back a bit at the same time. If you need a quantity for processing or freezing or drying, wait until the plant has reached close to its mature size and then trim it back hard. Water and fertilize to encourage regrowth. You should be able to do this several times before the plant becomes exhausted. You can also plant successive crops if you find it easier to pull them up for harvest. Try to harvest before they bloom, in any case, and pinch the plants when they are small to encourage bushiness.
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