When is It Time to Pick?
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Danial
Posted on: September 26, 2003

When is it time to use catnip?

Any time when the plant is big enough to withstand cutting. For drying purposes the best time is when the plants are coming into flower. Typically catnip flowers in the summer; however, if you miss the flowering period you can still cut and dry your catnip, but it won’t be quite as potent as the catnip cut just as flowering begins.

When is it time to use echinacea and what parts of the plant does one use?

All parts of echinacea are used, but the roots are thought to be the most medicinally active part. Roots are best gathered in the fall, in the third or fourth year. After the killing frosts, but before the ground freezes solid, the roots are dug, washed and dried.

When is it time to use ashwagandha and what parts of the plant does one use?

The roots are the medicinally active part. The roots are gathered after the berries appear and the plant starts to decline, or immediately after the first killing frost.

I ordered some plants off of you late spring half appeared dead but almost all grew there was only two plants that didn’t survive it was goldenseal and comfrey. I only asked you above about the plants I don’t know much about!

Goldenseal is a woodland plant and sometimes it does not survive the stresses of transport and transplantings well. We are happy to credit your Richters account. You can use the credit on a future order.

That the comfrey did not survive is surprising because it is practically indestructible. Even a tiny piece of root will regrow. I think that the fact that the comfrey suffered is an indication that something exceptional happened to your shipment.

It is not normal for plants to arrive in such poor condition. Most orders in Canada get delivered within 1-3 days after leaving our greenhouses and that usually is fast enough to avoid excessive drying or damage due to lack of light. Occasionally, parcels will get delayed for longer periods – sometimes a week or more – and if that happens you will see the kind of damage you describe. But I want to stress that this type of damage is unusual.

We are happy to provide a credit for both plants. Please email a copy of this message along with your customer number or order number to our customer service department at custserv@richters.com. They will look after you.

I might order again off of you next year. I have a suggestion: You might try using those blue gel sheets in shipping items a fair distance. There’s a company that’s located in Toronto and also Quebec called Oxford Nurseries that uses such sheets. They prevent plants from drying out.

I am not familiar with the blue sheets; I have never seen them used in plant shipments coming to us. It might be an idea to try them for distant destinations, but I would be hesitant to use them for nearby destinations. Just as there is a problem with drying out when shipments take long to arrive, there is a problem with moulding and rotting if the moisture is too high. Our operating principle is that if the parcels are delivered quickly (and unpacked by the customer quickly!) then our plants should arrive in great condition, almost as if they were never in transit. This happens with the overwhelming majority of our shipments, and this has been the case for years.

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