Harvesting Culinary Herbs *adapted
from University of Rhode Island GreenShare Factsheets
Basil grown for dried leaves or essential oil is cut
just prior to the appearance of flowers. The foliage
should be cut at least four to six leaves above the
ground to allow for regrowth and a subsequent crop.
- Harvest individual leaves at any time, tastiest
- Use scissors when harvesting as clean cuts do least
- Entire upper stem & leaves can be harvested,
but leave at least 4 sets of leaves (5”) or
plant may die
- To ensure freshness re-cut stems & put them
in a jug of water in a cool location
- Blanch leaves and then freeze in ice cubes
- Freezing is best way to preserve basil’s flavour
- To dry strip the leaves and dry in a dark airy location
- Store dried basil leaves whole in an airtight container
To harvest chives, cut leaves 2 inches above the ground.
Fresh leaves should be harvested before flowering
begins. Harvest seeds as soon as seed heads are brown
Harvest six to eight weeks after planting and until
leaves turn yellow in the fall.
Mint can be harvested almost as soon as it comes up
in the spring. Young, tender leaves and stems are
Sprigs of oregano can be cut off when the plant is
at least 6 inches high. In June, vigorously grown
plants can be cut back to the lowest set of leaves.
Plants will generally leaf out after two weeks and
can be cut back again in August
Cut 4-inch pieces from the tips of the branches, never
removing more than 20% of the growth at one time.
Harvest the entire plant by cutting it back to 2 inches
above ground in midsummer and again at the end of