Harvesting Basil and Rosemary
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: Gail MacIntyre
Posted on: May 10, 2004

I love to use fresh basil and rosemary while cooking. However, when I tried growing some last year, both the basil and rosemary did not continue to grow after taking fresh cuttings. I’m not sure if the problem is that the basil was grown in a ceramic container on my deck or that I am cutting it in the wrong place.

This leads to two questions: Is it okay to grow in a planter rather than in the garden and where/how much should you cut when harvesting?

The two herbs you mentioned grow quite well in a planter. The basil is an annual, but might carry on a bit longer if taken indoors planter and all once the nights get too cool for its liking. The rosemary will have to come in in the winter since it is not winter hardy in the north. Therefore planting it in a planter is also preferable for the ease of bringing it indoors. But be sure to not let the container dry out -it happens easier than in the garden. Also be sure there are drainage holes in the bottom of the pot.

When you harvest, make sure to only cut off anything that is 10 centimeters( 4 inches) above the base of the plant, higher if there are no leaves on the bottom 10 cm. There must be enough of the plant left to carry on food production. A good rule of thumb is to never harvest more than one third of the plant.

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