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This page was last updated on Monday, 02 September, 2013.

Herb Harvesting Chart


The season is spring but we all know or at least most of us realize the seasons are not what we have become accustomed to. It's the first of June although it feels and seems like late June or July. The plants have been greatly impacted just as we are with the temperature changes we've been experiencing. What used to be normal is now novelty and we need to adapt and work with what we're being given. I spend as much time as possible this time of year getting my gardens prepped and my yard presentable. I was lucky in that I was outside in late March and had a lot of my weeding already done before this extreme came upon me. I noticed then the plants were coming to life regardless of the calendar and we paid dearly losing fruit from many trees when the frost came back and the bees were not yet in flight. Saying the weather has been a bit crazy may be an understatement and again I say, we need to go with the flow and adapt the best way we can.

This brings me to my herb gathering and how I have never gathered so many herbs this early in the year but they were ready to be harvested and I knew that by looking at them. I took a picture of how I gathered the herbs yesterday and hung them upside down to dry out of direct sunlight and in a place where they can receive air flow. By doing it this way my plants usually dry with optimum color and nutrient value and it doesn't take long before I can cut and store them in glass containers. By the way, the old saying "Cut and Dry" came from herb gathering and although it's meaning has been distorted, that is what we do with herbs for proper storage. I have also bundled them with rubber bands or string and hung them from various places and I have punctured paper bags and placed herbs loosely in there for drying. Baskets are a favorite too and they look and smell great with drying herbs sitting around the house. I always label everything and I know the plants quite well but once they are dried, they often look alike and it can be almost impossible trying to decipher between similar plants. A piece of masking tape works well as does just a small piece of paper stuck in the stems.




All plants have certain times for harvest just like vegetables do. You wouldn't want to pick a half ripe pepper or eggplant although green  tomatoes are quite wonderful. The same for herbs. Each has a maturity time and with herbs, some plants are harvested for the  aerial parts, some for flowers or berries and some for roots, so on and so forth. The chart I will be presenting will not be a total plant list but instead I chose the herbs I work with often and/or are easily assessable to me in my immediate area. My suggestion to you would be to start by identifying a few herbs that you know in your area and harvest them. An awesome book to get with a more complete harvesting chart and a great understanding of herbal medicine is "The Holistic Herbal" by David Hoffman and is one of my favorites. Learn each herbs purpose and make your own chart as I have done here with what's assessable to you. Once you learn wild-crafting of your basic herbs, you can add more plants to your environment and expand your own natural medicine chest. This chart will follow traditional seasonal harvesting but with the seasons not behaving normally, we all need to familiarize ourselves with the plants harvesting stages and go by the plant and not so much the season. This will be for general reference and a guide to help you get started. The more we can help ourselves in these changing times, the easier our lives will be and the peace of mind that comes from learning about nature and what God has given us is truly a blessing in itself. I wish you all abundance and peace of mind. Happy harvesting!


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Blessings'

Victoria

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