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Home > Herb Gardening > Harvesting and Pest control
Harvesting and Pest Control in Herb Gardening
Most herbs grow best in well drained, fairly fertile soil with a neutral pH of 6.5 to 7.0. Seeds can be sown indoors or out. Many seeds are very tiny and fine. Make sure not to plant them deeply. Just barely cover the seed and keep the top surface of the soil moist. Thin seedlings according to the instructions on the seed packet.

Insects and Pests:
Few pests affect the herb family. In fact, some herbs, such as garlic, are used in organic pesticide formulas. Occasionally mites and aphids can bother a number of herb varieties. See Organic Sprays.

Disease is not too common among the herb family.

Harvesting It is best to harvest herbs in the morning. This is when the oils are the highest concentration. Immediately after harvesting them, wash them in cool water. Then spread them out on a drying rack. Allow good ventilation. They should dry in two to three days. Many herbs can also be frozen for later use(culinary herbs)

Many herbs will freeze or dry beautifully to extend their shelf life. We prefer to use them fresh out of the garden for best flavor but when you have so much so quickly that`s not always possible. You always want to be pinching back things like basil, thyme, oregano and chives so that you get fullest production out of the season. Plants like rosemary like a good cutting now and then to keep them from getting too woody. If you haven`t planned a meal around your pruning try some of these ideas to preserve your herbs:

Freezing Herbs: Wash herbs very well and gently pat dry with paper towels. Wrap a leaves or sprigs in freezer paper or place in freezer proof ziplock bags, seal and freeze. These herbs can be chopped and thawed for use in cooking, but are not suitable for garnish as they will become rather limp when thawed. Flavor is best if used within a few months.

Herb Cubes: This is a very convenient way of storing herbs. Put the clean dry herbs into the bottom of an ice cube tray and fill the compartments with water or stock. Then when you need herbs just pop them into soups, stews or sauces. You can mix and match, make combinations that you use in your recipes.

Drying Fresh Herbs: One thing to remember when using dried herbs as compared to fresh that you want to use1/3 teaspoon powdered or 1/2 teaspoon crushed for every tablespoon fresh.

Air drying is the simplest method requiring only rubberbands to secure the stems of herbs together. Just hang upside down in a dark airy area with good air circulation until dry. This does take the longest however.

Try this simple microwave drying method with herbs such as parsley, basil, thyme and oregano. Wash and gently pat dry herbs picked in the morning just after the dew has dried. This is when your herbs will have the most oils in the leaves. Spread them out on a microwave safe dish in a single layer between two papertowels. Place in microwave and cook on high for about a minute, then check them. Continue cooking for about 20 seconds at a time until the herbs are just crisp.

When drying with a conventional oven, begin by placing the clean herbs on shallow trays in oven, leaving oven door ajar and turning the heat to the lowest setting, about 150 F. Allow the herbs to dry, testing after each hour. A small electric fan placed to circulate air into the oven cavity will speed the drying time. When storing, place the herbs in airtight jars, out of direct sunlight.

Features of Herb Gar.. Harvesting and Pest .. History of Herbs
Herbs for Beginning .. Cultivation of Herbs.. Preservation of Herb..
Herb Garden Design Spices Herbal Plants
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