That gives the basil plant time to regrow. If you don’t shock it, it will just acclimatize itself as it grows! If you’re only growing one type of basil, or if your different cultivars are separated by at least 150 feet (basil is insect-pollinated), let at least a few branches of your best plants go completely to seed. Next year, I have a goal to grow every type of basil I have in my current seed collection. Harvest Frequent harvesting will prolong the life of the plant. How to harvest basil Harvesting Basil. Later, simply clip the stems at the first or second branch intersection below the tips of the branches. You will see the mucilage form almost immediately. Cloning a plant allows you to bypass the slow process of growing from seed. Water sparingly – basil hates to sit in wet compost. Key Points for Harvesting Basil. One of the beauties of basil is there isn’t a real, definitive harvest time – just pick what you need as you need it. Harvesting Basil. Harvesting basil this way, you’ll probably be able to get 20 cups of basil from each plant per season! From then until the first flower buds form it will grow lush, tender foliage. Post-harvest care of basil. It still takes time, but much less so. Several times now, we’ve had a conversation that goes like this: “I brought a crate of basil cuttings to the chef at the restaurant I service. You can either prune all the flower buds off before they bloom and keep harvesting basil, or you can let the flowers bloom and watch the plant end its life in a beautiful display of fertility. Harvest your basil plant from top to bottom. Leave enough leaves on the holy basil plant so that it will keep growing. Basil leaves can begin to be harvested once the plant is is 6 to 8 inches tall, typically 60 to 90 days after planting the seeds. Harvest the leaves by pinching them off of the stem, and always harvest from the top of the plant. Basil plants are annuals. If you look closely at the basil flower stems after the petals have fallen off you can identify the seeds beginning to develop. Plant seeds or transplants after all danger of frost has passed and soil is warm, and it will yield an abundant harvest within weeks. Handle basil leaves with care; Use sharp scissors; Only harvest two-thirds of the plant at a time; Do not allow to flower; How to Keep and Store Your Basil Harvest How to Harvest Basil. How to grow basil. As the basil grows, you will need to transplant one additional time to allow the plant to reach its full potential. Alex typically cares for the basil in our raised bed gardens, which makes me sometimes feel like I’m not sure quite the right way to prune our basil plant. After the basil seeds are planted, it's time to get them ready to germinate. Cut back the basil to the second or third leaf set from the bottom each time the plant grows 6 to 8 inches tall so you can extend your harvest of basil leaves. Pot on into individual pots when plants are big enough to handle. You can start harvesting your basil as soon as it has 6 or more leaves. Leave about 1/3 of the plant with each harvest. It will grow back and be ready to harvest again in approximately 2-3 weeks. Take up to a 3rd of the plant by harvesting 2 to 3 nodes down the plant or down each stem of the plant when harvesting for a recipe such as pesto. How To Harvest Basil Seeds. This will allow more leaves to grow. Do not allow your basil plant to flower unless you want seeds for next year’s plants. Flowering can be delayed by pinching or clipping off new flower buds. Keep weeds at bay to prevent disease and bugs from attacking your growing basil plants. Those basil seeds just exploded and grew into a giant basil bush about three feet tall! (See the above image, pick or prune just above the node — the intersection of stem and leaves.) It turns out that the easiest way to grow basil is to allow it to grow from seed in the same environment that it will be in throughout the season. Harvesting basil can begin when the plant has produced at least six leaves to prevent legginess. Sometimes the lifespan of the basil plant can be short, so harvest away, basil lovers. Sow basil seed successionally from spring to summer so you have a continuous crop. Harvest leaves a few at a time at first. Like I have said before, it is really important to leave some big leaves on the bottom of the plant, to make sure that it absorbs enough light needed for optimal growth. Unlike most herbs, which flower, turn brown and are then ready to harvest the seeds, basil can produce ripe seeds right alongside developing seeds. While harvesting basil one last time before it tries to flower will, indeed, give you a nice bulk of this aromatic herb to play with and harvest, cast your eye a little further. If you are only cutting back by a third, you will need to wait a few weeks before you can harvest your plant again. And it took absolutely no fussing on my part whatsoever! This helps leaves to keep their full flavor. Here's an example of one that isn't ready. Picking leaves regularly encourages more growth. If conditions are right, you’ll soon have another crop of basil in the making. Here's some quick tips to ensure you enjoy the largest yield from your basil plants. Morning is the best time of day, but don’t hesitate to pick basil whenever you need it. Each time you harvest, try not to pick more than half of the plant. You can pick basil leaves as needed at any time – in fact, harvesting encourages the plant to produce more leaves. Harvest the leaves individually rather than chopping the plant with scissors, as this will enable new leaves to grow. Regular harvesting will keep plants full and round. Stop harvest a month before the first fall frost to ensure the plants are strong enough for the winter. You can keep a plant in a pot going all summer long by moving it into a slightly bigger container every time roots show through the drainage holes in the bottom – plants could end up in a 20cm (8in) container. Basil leaves have the best flavour just before the plant flowers, and if you plan to preserve some of your basil or make a big batch of pesto, this is the best time to harvest. References . Harvest Frequent harvesting will prolong the life of the plant. Go easy, so the seeds don't fly off the tray. When your basil has grown nice and tall, we recommend that you start making clones of your basil plant to allow more immature basil plants to start to develop as you continue to harvest the current adult plant for usage. Do not let holy basil go to seed before harvesting. Each time you harvest basil, it encourages the plant to make more leaves. Each summer I choose one basil plant to harvest and one to let develop flower stalks and go to seed. Use the spray bottle again and wet the seeds. As always, adjust this advice to your own growing zone, whether that means adding a few more weeks of harvest time or subtracting how many growing days are in your season. So, we decided it was high time to get some of these thoughts on basil care down on paper. The more harvests done, the better it is for the growth of the sweet basil herb. Harvesting Basil. Once you have harvested the seeds, you have two options: Plant the seeds directly in the ground after your last … If you prune a basil plant correctly, then you’ll see an increase in yield each time you harvest for the first three harvests (around weeks 5, 8, and 11). And the best part is the more you harvest, the more a basil plant will produce. When the plant is at least six to eight inches tall, you can start harvesting. Begin harvesting basil shortly after the seed sprouts and the second set of leaves appear. Now What? If it isn’t producing large leaves, you can add a balanced fertilizer every 4-6 weeks. How to Harvest Basil (Tip #8) For every basil plant on this list, you can begin harvesting the leaves 60 to 90 days after your basil seeds pop through the soil. Basil is a warm-weather, fragrant herb that tastes great in many dishes—including the beloved homemade pesto! 3. Here’s everything about how to harvest basil! Once you notice the roots growing out through the drainage holes is a good indicator your plant needs a larger pot. All it takes is a little planning ahead of time. I picked a green part from the plant as an example to show you. Basil can be frozen to preserve its flavor, used fresh or dried. This should be done right before the day heats up, but after the dew dries off the plant. Plant basil outside after all danger of frost has passed, choosing a sunny, sheltered spot with well-drained soil or grow plants in containers. Weeding. There are two basic ways to harvest basil: If you just want a few leaves to use then it is fine to pinch what you need off from the top of the plant. You can harvest it whenever you need it, just make sure that the leaves that you are harvesting are big enough. When a basil seed gets the right mix of light, water and warmth, it starts to soften and send up a new shoot. Here’s what you’ll need: Plastic or paper bag (a used grocery bag works great) White paper towels or a white plate; Envelope or baggie for seeds; Sharpie; How to Harvest Basil Seeds Step 1: Wait until the basil flowers are completely brown and crunchy. In this video I explained how to cut back the flower stalks to ensure a continuous supply of fresh basil all season. It’s normal to cut one-third of the plant down as you harvest. 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