Here's an example of one that isn't ready. Only harvest it when there are 2 to 3 leaves. 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. Those basil seeds just exploded and grew into a giant basil bush about three feet tall! Later, simply clip the stems at the first or second branch intersection below the tips of the branches. The water will also help settle the seeds into the soil. (See the above image, pick or prune just above the node — the intersection of stem and leaves.) From then until the first flower buds form it will grow lush, tender foliage. This will allow more leaves to grow. For the best flavor, only take what you need when you need it, or when your scheduled regular pruning is supposed to occur. This requires no effort, just continue to water it and be patient. Sometimes the lifespan of the basil plant can be short, so harvest away, basil lovers. So, we decided it was high time to get some of these thoughts on basil care down on paper. Use the spray bottle again and wet the seeds. Once you notice the roots growing out through the drainage holes is a good indicator your plant needs a larger pot. In general, basil doesn’t need fertilizer if you’ve planted it into well-composted soil. 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. Harvest by cutting the plant 2 inches from the ground. Harvest at the End of the Grow Season. Below are critical tips to remember when harvesting basil: Harvest your basil plants under the leaves. When harvesting more copious amounts of basil, harvest from the top of the plant downward. Do not let holy basil go to seed before harvesting. 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. Do not allow your basil plant to flower unless you want seeds for next year’s plants. And it took absolutely no fussing on my part whatsoever! Go easy, so the seeds don't fly off the tray. Once you have harvested the seeds, you have two options: Plant the seeds directly in the ground after your last … Do you want your basil plant to be big and lush? 3. I picked a green part from the plant as an example to show you. Sow basil seed successionally from spring to summer so you have a continuous crop. Leave about 1/3 of the plant with each harvest. Each time you harvest, try not to pick more than half of the plant. Each summer I choose one basil plant to harvest and one to let develop flower stalks and go to seed. If you don’t shock it, it will just acclimatize itself as it grows! 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. There are so many varieties of basil – don’t just limit yourself to the kind you’d typically find in your grocery aisle! Harvest the leaves individually rather than chopping the plant with scissors, as this will enable new leaves to grow. References . How to Harvest Basil. Picking leaves regularly encourages more growth. The first set of leaves that emerge on a basil seedling are called the seed leaves. Here’s everything about how to harvest basil! Harvesting basil this way, you’ll probably be able to get 20 cups of basil from each plant per season! Weeding. Plant seeds or transplants after all danger of frost has passed and soil is warm, and it will yield an abundant harvest within weeks. Harvest Frequent harvesting will prolong the life of the plant. With time I understood that, in fact, basil can be harvested as soon as the plant is about 12 inches tall in all safety, and that harvesting… or pruning which in the case of aromatic herbs is the same thing is essential to ensure a healthy development of the plant. 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. Keep harvesting the leaves to keep the plant … Harvest the leaves by pinching them off of the stem, and always harvest from the top of the plant. When a basil seed gets the right mix of light, water and warmth, it starts to soften and send up a new shoot. Black seeds are ready to be picked while green seeds are still ripening. After the basil seeds are planted, it's time to get them ready to germinate. It will grow back and be ready to harvest again in approximately 2-3 weeks. If the plant should ever sneak some flowers in on you, you’ve reached a fork in the road. Keep weeds at bay to prevent disease and bugs from attacking your growing basil plants. This is among vital steps on how to harvest sweet basil to make sure the herb continuous to have productive leafing. 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. Harvesting Basil. And the best part is the more you harvest, the more a basil plant will produce. Pot on into individual pots when plants are big enough to handle. Stop harvest a month before the first fall frost to ensure the plants are strong enough for the winter. Unlike most herbs, which flower, turn brown and are then ready to harvest the seeds, basil can produce ripe seeds right alongside developing seeds. Harvesting basil can begin when the plant has produced at least six leaves to prevent legginess. 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 Frequent harvesting will prolong the life of the plant. Basil plants are annuals. 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 When the plant is at least six to eight inches tall, you can start harvesting. Harvesting basil seeds is usually a pretty easy process, but as you’ll see, basil seeds are tiny. Don’t worry when you see how much of the plant you’ve cut off. 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. The proper time to harvest sweet basil leaves is in the morning—after the dew has evaporated and dried. Key Points for Harvesting Basil. Step 1 Cut your holy basil with a sharp knife just above the bottom two or three sets of true leaves. 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. In this video I explained how to cut back the flower stalks to ensure a continuous supply of fresh basil all season. Flowering can be delayed by pinching or clipping off new flower buds. Plant basil outside after all danger of frost has passed, choosing a sunny, sheltered spot with well-drained soil or grow plants in containers. Harvest leaves a few at a time at first. As the basil grows, you will need to transplant one additional time to allow the plant to reach its full potential. Flowering can be delayed by pinching or clipping off new flower buds. Begin harvesting basil shortly after the seed sprouts and the second set of leaves appear. 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. Harvesting Basil. After the first cut is made, more growth will begin to develop but do not harvest this second growth as the new growth increases the plant’s hardiness over the winter months. Basil can be frozen to preserve its flavor, used fresh or dried. 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. 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. If you are only cutting back by a third, you will need to wait a few weeks before you can harvest your plant again. The more harvests done, the better it is for the growth of the sweet basil herb. One of the beauties of basil is there isn’t a real, definitive harvest time – just pick what you need as you need it. If you are cutting entire stems, make sure that you cut to a third of your plant’s height above a leaf pair. It’s normal to cut one-third of the plant down as you harvest. Harvest your basil plant from top to bottom. Well, this is the best thing about a basil plant. This helps leaves to keep their full flavor. All it takes is a little planning ahead of time. How to grow basil. Fertilizing. It still takes time, but much less so. 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. Leave enough leaves on the holy basil plant so that it will keep growing. Step 1: Allow your basil to flower and go to seed . You can harvest it whenever you need it, just make sure that the leaves that you are harvesting are big enough. Next year, I have a goal to grow every type of basil I have in my current seed collection. You can start harvesting your basil as soon as it has 6 or more leaves. How to harvest basil Harvesting Basil. 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. 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). 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. Regular harvesting will keep plants full and round. Each time you harvest basil, it encourages the plant to make more leaves. How To Harvest Basil Seeds. 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. That gives the basil plant time to regrow. You will see the mucilage form almost immediately. This should be done right before the day heats up, but after the dew dries off the plant. If conditions are right, you’ll soon have another crop of basil in the making. You can pick basil leaves as needed at any time – in fact, harvesting encourages the plant to produce more leaves. 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. 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 it isn’t producing large leaves, you can add a balanced fertilizer every 4-6 weeks. 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