Last year I wrote about growing herbs in containers outside. Well, we’ve expanded our herb garden and now we have herbs in containers and in garden beds! This past year, we were able to grow sage, thyme, oregano, chives, dill, and basil. Our best performing plant was a basil seed that literally turned into a giant bush. The bees loved it and so did we. It lasted through all seasons until it got too cold here and died off. Luckily Basil is one of the top herbs I can grow and this season I grew a few basil plants!
When to Harvest Your Herbs:
You’ll know when your herbs are ready to be harvested because they are a good size. Leafy herbs like basil and sage are ready to pick right at about 1-2 inches in length. Vine styled herbs like rosemary and oregano are ready to pick at a few inches in length. The best time to harvest according to experts is a few hours after a watering.
Here Are Ways To Use Herbs From Your Garden:
- Use them now – If you harvest your herbs they will stay in your fridge for about a week. If you cut them at the stem, you can put them in a glass jar with some water and cover it with a Ziploc bag and it will last a little longer!
- In ice – You can place the herbs in ice cube trays and place water in them. Once frozen, you can then just throw them in your pots as you cook.
- Dry them out – If you have an abundant bounty, my best suggestion would be to dry them out, then place the herbs in a jar. More on this below!
Here are ways to dry herbs out:
- In a strainer – simply wash them and let them dry naturally.
- Hang them up – I bought this circular laundry hanger and it works perfectly to hang and dry your herbs. Simply cut them low to solid and hang to dry outside. If you have a bug problem, you can also put them in organza bags and hang them from there.
- In the oven – this is the fastest method but not my favorite because it heats up the house. To do this, turn your oven to the lowest setting and let them dry in the oven for about 8-10 minutes. Watch out when you open your oven door, the moisture will come out like a cloud.
- Dry them in a dehydrator – dehydrators are inexpensive compared to when they came out years ago. You can purchase a basic food dehydrator on Amazon for around $30 or you may luck out into finding out at a thrift store for usually less than $10.
Once your herbs are dry, remove the leaves and crumble them into a jar.