Rosemary is a perennial herb that can thrive for many years especially in warm and dry climates. It is an evergreen shrub that grows up to six feet tall when planted in the ground under optimum conditions, or 3 feet in height when grown in containers. It doesn’t take frost very well and might die during the cold season without adequate protection. For this reason, many choose to grow rosemary in pots so it can be easily taken indoors during winter.
But many herb gardeners will certainly agree that rosemary is one of the easiest herbs to grow. You can be sure of a good harvest as long as you provide its basic requirements: lots of sun, just the right amount of water and a little pruning here and there to promote a bushy growth.
Harvesting rosemary doesn’t need any special method at all and there is really no harvest season for this herb. You can enjoy its fresh leaves anytime for as long as the plant is growing. But there some points you might find helpful to ensure full benefit from your rosemary herb.
One: Harvest only from an established rosemary plant. Give young plants at least six weeks before harvesting for the first time. Six weeks also for older plants to allow them to grow back their stems and establish new growth.
Two: Harvest is simply done by snipping off its stems. You may find a pair of clippers useful for this purpose because rosemary is a woody plant and cannot be easily pruned by bare hands. Using a sharp pair of clippers also ensures a clean cut and avoids wounding the stems or damaging the plant. Wounded stems may invite pest or make the plant vulnerable to diseases.
Three: Cut or prune only four to eight inches from the tip of the stems, depending on how tall the plant is. If you cut too far down, there won’t be any foliage left to allow the stems to grow back and repopulate.
Four: Also, cut only the leafy stems and not the woody part, especially if you have an older plant. New growth stems only from the leafy ones. Bare wood doesn’t grow back.
Five: Prune or harvest rosemary after it blooms.
Six: Get only as much as you need if you plan to use the herb fresh.
Seven: Harvest anytime of the day. You don’t really have to wait for the full moon or for a specific time in the morning to make sure that the herb is at its peak.
Eight: After you harvest, there are a number of ways to store the herb. You can use it immediately, hang it on a warm and dry place to dry, or toss inside a plastic bag and freeze. Although, dried or frozen rosemary leaves are not as good and as flavorful as fresh leaves.
Rosemary is a truly a wonderful herb to have growing in your garden or inside your house. Knowing how to properly harvest from it and allowing the plant to grow back over and over again could mean many bountiful years for you and your rosemary.