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Old 26-08-2003, 06:12 AM
 
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Default Herbs - Safely Trimming

Hi, everybody...

I am really new to this, so please bear with me...

I have started collecting herbs, parsley,
coriander, etc. My undertanding is that I can
keep these growing permanently, and just trim off
a bit now and then for putting into dinner.

However, I am unsure about how much I can trim,
while keeping the plants healthy.

Right now, I have them in 4-inch containers from
the local store. Unless there are any other
ideas, this weekend I will spread the individual
plants/stems out a bit, and transfer them to 10-
litre (2.5 gal) buckets.

Currently, the stems with leaves are up to about
10-inches.

Can I eat some now? Or should I wait for more
growth?

Thanks for you help, and I love this NG!

Oh, oops... I should mention that I am in the
Southern Hemisphere, so we are just now
approaching springtime.

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Old 26-08-2003, 03:02 PM
Frogleg
 
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Default Herbs - Safely Trimming

On Mon, 25 Aug 2003 22:06:00 -0700, wrote:

I have started collecting herbs, parsley,
coriander, etc. My undertanding is that I can
keep these growing permanently, and just trim off
a bit now and then for putting into dinner.


Parsley is a biennial. That is, the plant grows leaves the first year,
overwinters (in my climate -- 10-20F minimum temperature), and then
flowers and goes to seed (and dies) the 2nd year. While there *are*
new leaves the 2nd year, they're not as good for culinary use. I try
and plant parsley each spring for a reliable supply.

Coriander (cilantro) is an annual, and usually a short-lived one. It
goes through the above process in one season, indeed, in just few
weeks. You need *many* cilantro plants for a good supply for cooking.
"Staggered" planting is recommended -- that is, sowing seeds at 2-wk
intervals to have some nice leafy plants going all season.

Dill is another rather short-lived annual.

Allow all of these to go to seed, and you will have enough seeds for a
*long* time.

However, I am unsure about how much I can trim,
while keeping the plants healthy.


A healthy 1st year parsley plant can supply garnish and sauce
ingredient pretty much as needed, and keep putting out new leaves.
That is, using a few sprigs every couple of days won't harm it.
Cilantro (coriander) pretty much sends out all the good leaves it's
going to and then begins flowering. If you have many plants, you can
just harvest the whole thing *before* it flowers, allowing 1 or 2
plants to produce seed for next time. Dill lies somewhere between
these 2 -- you can snip the leaves as needed -- even, if it's
flourishing, clip off a large stem for drying. Then let it flower and
collect the seeds.

None of these need or benefit from "pruning" to promote growth. Just
use what you need.

Basil is another annual, and one that *does* benefit from a certain
amount of pruning to make it 'bush out,' and particularly from
pinching off the stem ends when it looks like it wants to flower and
go to seed.

Many herbs *are* perennials -- rosemary, thyme, sage, oregano, etc.
That is, they overwinter and put out new growth each year (in suitable
climates). Those are the ones you want to put in big pots or into the
ground. Sage is said to be improved by removing bloom spikes before
they flower. For the rest, it doesn't seem to matter much. While sage
and thyme are perennials, some varieties tend to get woody after a few
years, and you may want to buy or start new plants from time to time.

I am in the Southern Hemisphere, so we are just now
approaching springtime.


Lucky you to be starting out, while we are approaching end of harvest
and thinking about how much better we'll do next year. :-)
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