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Basil is a flavorful condiment that is used in many different dishes.
Basil is used both fresh and dried. It is important to know when to harvest basil so that it retains its aroma and beneficial properties for a long time.
Our article will tell you how to properly cut the leaves of a plant in order to get a tasty and fragrant harvest and at the same time so that the bush continues to grow and delight you further.
When to start harvesting?
In order to grow 2-3 harvests of basil in one summer season, you need to know at what time it should be harvested. Using the right time to harvest the basil will keep its spicy aroma for as long as possible.
Important! The spice collection is carried out when young plants reach a height of 15-20 cm. As a rule, this time falls on the second half of July and early August.
To dry a plant, you need to start harvesting it before it starts to bloom.... As soon as the first buds appear on the bushes, you can harvest your first crop. After the plant has faded, the leaves largely lose their aromatic properties.
The collection of seeds from the bushes is carried out later, when the inflorescence of the bushes has already faded, become dry, and acquired a brown color. It is important to have time to collect before the inflorescences begin to crumble into the garden.
What is the time to harvest the greens?
There is no specific time during the day for collecting basil. You can prepare your stocks at any time. The main prerequisite for collection is sunny, dry weather.
During dampness, excess moisture accumulates in the leaves. If you pick basil after rain, then there is a chance that the harvest will be matched.
What is the best - cut or pull out by the roots?
In order for basil to delight you with its harvest several times in one summer season, cut off the leaves of this spicy herb, do not uproot it... If you pull out the bushes by the roots, then you can already forget about re-harvesting.
It is not necessary to cut off the entire bush completely, but part of the leaves, leaving 3-4 leaves on the main stem of the plant.
It is the partial cutting of the leaves, and not completely of the entire bush, that will allow to build up an even richer leaf mass. If the bush is cut off completely, then the re-harvest will have to wait much longer.
How to harvest leaves?
- When first harvesting leaves during the gardening season, cut the leaves along with the tops of the shoots to allow the plant to branch out even more.
- When re-cutting the leaves of the basil, do not pluck the tops of the plant, since in this case the inflorescences of the basil will not appear.
- Water the plants abundantly after harvest; top dressing is allowed while watering.
- Loosen the soil between the bushes.
We suggest watching a useful video on how to collect basil leaves:
Seed collection instructions
Reference. Basil seed growing is possible in the southern regions, and in the Central zone and in the North - only in greenhouses.
We gave practical recommendations for growing basil in a greenhouse here.
Algorithm of actions:
- Cut off inflorescences that have already faded. These include dry brown inflorescences.
- We place them in a dry, ventilated room. The inflorescences should dry completely.
- Grind dried inflorescences, remove debris.
- We place the seeds in paper bags or cloth bags so that the seeds do not become damp during storage.
Basil seeds are kept dry at room temperature and remain viable for five years.
From the following video, you can learn how to harvest basil seeds:
How many times a year can the leaves be cut?
If you grow these useful spicy herb bushes at home, then you can harvest all year round (read about growing basil at home, in the country, on the balcony in this material). When grown in the open field, basil is harvested 2-3 times per season. before or at the beginning of flowering, at this time young shoots and leaves are most fragrant. Read more about growing basil here.
The first collection can be done 25-30 days after disembarkation. As a rule, this is the end of July or the beginning of August, the second harvest is carried out at the end of September, and the third harvest can be made right before frost for fresh consumption.
The main factors affecting the frequency of harvest are weather conditions and the soil in which the spice grows. Basil grows poorly in cold and very humid summers due to the fact that it does not receive the necessary nutrition from the sun's rays. Acidic or heavy soils, with a high clay predominance, will also negatively affect your harvest.
How to store the crop for the first time?
Basil is tied in small bunches and hung in a dark, warm, ventilated place. Plants can also be laid out on the table, but only in a thin layer. This is the only way all the leaves can dry out, and the crop will not grow moldy.
You can't dry basil in the sun... So that it does not lose its beneficial properties, and also so that the accumulated essential oils do not evaporate, the storage temperature should not exceed + 35C.
Important! It is necessary to dry the plants until they begin to grind into powder easily in the palms of your hands. If you did everything correctly, the basil will retain its natural color and aroma.
Collect the spice in the allotted time. Following the described rules, you will retain all the useful properties of the basil. The correct collection of basil will allow you to provide yourself with natural vitamins for the whole winter.