Harvesting herbs: How to make 5 easily homegrown herbs last beyond summer
Don’t let the rain wash away all your homegrown herbs. We offer top tips on how to keep them going, long after summer has faded.
Want to save your freshly grown herbs? They may have run to seed or look the worse for wear in the heavy summer rain, but it’s easy if you know how.
Some herbs will soon be coming to the end of their natural harvesting period, so here are some top tips on how to pick them to enjoy for months to come.
Hopefully you’ll have grown your mint in a pot so it hasn’t invaded other plants in your herb garden or border. The best way to harvest it is to start snipping as soon as the leaves are large enough. However, this may have been at the beginning of summer.
But if you want fresh mint into the winter months, take some cuttings now. Pick three leafy, non-flowered sprigs that are about 10cm long, sit them in a glass of water in a light position inside, ideally on a windowsill, and they should take root fairly quickly.
Then pot the cuttings into a container about the same size you’d buy in a supermarket pot of herbs, with multi-purpose compost, and the mint should continue to grow. Cut it regularly and it should bush out.
This common herb is usually grown as an annual, either at the front of vegetable beds or in pots, but it doesn’t dry well, so if you want to save your harvest, freeze bunches in a plastic bag, then you can rub the leaves off the stalks when you remove them, as needed.
This Christmas favourite – an essential addition to stuffing – also looks fantastic as an ornamental because of the striking texture and tone of its leaves.
However, sage is a Mediterranean plant, so won’t appreciate a really wet winter. To be on the safe side, dry your sage leaves now by blanching them – dipping them into boiling water followed by cold – then lay them out on baking trays in a warm area to dry, turning them over from time to time. Once they are totally dry, keep them in airtight screw-top jars.
Have you noticed that your coriander plants have run to seed, sending up wisps of cow parsley-like flowers? Don’t cut them off, because at this time of year, round, greenish seeds will be developing which can be used in your cooking.
At the end of summer, cut the flower stalks complete with seedheads, and hang them upside down in a warm, dry place, but out of direct sunlight. Tie paper bags over the heads to catch the seeds which fall, and after a few days, shake the bag to encourage the seeds to drop.
You can then dry them on a tray before storing them in an airtight screw-top glass jar. When you want to use them, grind them in a spice mill or in a pestle and mortar for maximum flavour.
They may have long finished flowering, but if you want the oniony flavour of chives later on in the season, you’re best off digging up a small clump from your garden to repot and take indoors.
Cut the foliage down to 2.5-5cm (1-2in) above the top of the roots, then repot in multi-purpose compost for windowsill plants, which should soon start growing and will be ready after outdoor plants have died down for the winter.
The Press Association
Latest posts by The Press Association (see all)
- In pictures: 72 years of married life for the Queen - November 19, 2019
- 12 gardening gifts for green-fingered friends and family - November 19, 2019
- Quiz: Can you match the city with its famous bridge? - November 15, 2019
- Video: How to drive safely in floods - November 15, 2019
- Netflix will make Olivia Colman’s debut in The Crown free to watch - November 14, 2019
Leave a Comment!
Community Terms & Conditions
These content standards apply to any and all material which you contribute to our site (contributions), and to any interactive services associated with it.
You must comply with the spirit of the following standards as well as the letter. The standards apply to each part of any contribution as well as to its whole.
be accurate (where they state facts); be genuinely held (where they state opinions); and comply with applicable law in the UK and in any country from which they are posted.
Contributions must not:
contain any material which is defamatory of any person; or contain any material which is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory; or promote sexually explicit material; or promote violence; promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; or infringe any copyright, database right or trade mark of any other person; or be likely to deceive any person; or be made in breach of any legal duty owed to a third party, such as a contractual duty or a duty of confidence; or promote any illegal activity; or be threatening, abuse or invade another’s privacy, or cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety; or be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person; or be used to impersonate any person, or to misrepresent your identity or affiliation with any person; or give the impression that they emanate from us, if this is not the case; or advocate, promote or assist any unlawful act such as (by way of example only) copyright infringement or computer misuse.
Nurturing a safe environment
Our Silversurfers community is designed to foster friendships, based on trust, honesty, integrity and loyalty and is underpinned by these values.
We don't tolerate swearing, and reserve the right to remove any posts which we feel may offend others... let's keep it friendly!