Last minute Fall Herb Harvesting
by Bay Mountain AG
Cold Weather Herb Harvesting.
By Debbie Locker
Bay Mountain AG
With cooler temperatures coming, it’s not too late to pick and dry some of your herb garden for winter use.
In full disclosure, it is too late to harvest herbal flowers (lavender, violet, chive blossom, yarrow, calendula, echinacea) as they have flowered already this season. This info is for harvesting the green parts of your herb garden.
A typical harvest schedule is to pick most herbs leaves for drying right before the buds flower. After cutting, when the plant grows back, you can get another harvest or two, depending on the plant’s growth habit, and the frost date.
Herbs that work well with this type of harvest schedule are oregano, basil, thyme, stevia, nettle, valerian, mint, lemon balm, angelica, lemongrass, rosemary, red clover, horehound, anise hyssop, sage, parsley, among others.
To harvest, clip branches and gently wash, shake, and dry on cloth or paper towels. Put cuttings in a brown paper grocery bag, (1/2 full… too much may mold) and label/date the outside. Place in a warm, (room temperature), dry area.
I hang my bags on a clothes dryer with paper clip ‘S’s in the corner of a large closet and forget about them for a month. When the bags are crispy, the herbs will be dry and ready to break down to store in containers. Glass containers are best, I use canning jars, but personal choice rules. Store in a cool dark place.
Dried in paper bags, your herbs will be crispy and ready to use in blends, butters, teas, bath, and health products!
It’s not too late to use some of your garden!
PS: While this method works with sage and parsley, you do not have to fall harvest sage or parsley unless you want. Sage grows practically all winter under the snow, and parsley is a cold weather herb and stays green for quite a while. It will even freeze green and it harvestable until Jan or Feb depending on where you have it growing.