Harvesting and Preserving Herbs: Tips from Donaldson’s Greenhouse & Nursery

The amber allure of October blankets our gardens, compelling us to gather and value the herbal masterpieces that have flavored our meals and filled our homes with fragrance during the sunlit seasons. To ensure these herbal delights linger through winter’s embrace, the dual acts of apt harvesting and judicious preservation are crucial. Donaldson’s Greenhouse & Nursery is here to share its botanical expertise, illuminating the path to maximizing your herb garden’s rewards even as the autumnal chill takes hold.

Harvesting Tips:

  1. Time it Right: The idyllic early morning hours, just after the dew’s retreat but before the sun claims its zenith, capture herbs at their most aromatic.
  2. Choose the Right Tools: Employ clean, sharp scissors or pruners, ensuring a smooth, damage-free cut and safeguarding the herb’s essence.
  3. Nurture for Tomorrow: Aim to maintain about two-thirds of the plant standing. This foresight ensures rejuvenation and promises future yields.
  4. Handle with Care: Herbs deserve a tender touch, ensuring their fragrant profile remains intact.

October’s Botanical Blessings:

While some herbs might bow to October’s cooler demeanor, several stalwarts remain, eager for your attention:

  1. Rosemary: Ever the stalwart, rosemary perseveres, gifting its aromatic sprigs even amidst the falling autumnal leaves.
  2. Sage: Showcasing its fortitude, sage continues to present its hearty leaves, undeterred by the season’s cool transition.
  3. Thyme: Amidst the garden’s shifting tapestry, thyme’s fragrant essence remains a steadfast offering.
  4. Parsley: Often resilient till the season’s deeper frosts, parsley stands green and ready for harvest.
  5. Chives: Although their vigor might wane slightly in October, their bulbs and delicate fronds continue to burst with flavor.

Preservation Techniques:

  1. Drying: A trusted method across generations. Position the herbs in a warm, arid corner, preferably shielded from the sun’s direct rays. Or bundle them up and hang in a breezy location. Once thoroughly dried, secure them in airtight containers.
  2. Freezing: For herbs like chives and parsley, which may lose some zest when dried, the chill of the freezer offers a perfect haven. Slice, distribute in ice cube trays with a dash of water, and once set, move to freezer-friendly bags.
  3. Infused Oils: Herbs such as rosemary, thyme, and sage are ideal for oil infusions. Immerse them in a jar, pour over a choice oil like olive or almond, and store in a cool, darkened spot.
  4. Salt or Sugar Storage: Alternating layers of herbs with salt or sugar in a clear jar not only preserves but also infuses the medium with the herb’s essence.
  5. Vinegar Solutions: Robust herbs, sage being a prime example, thrive when submerged in vinegar. Position them in a jar, fill with vinegar, and keep in a shadowy retreat.

Concluding, the arrival of October need not signify a parting with your herbal companions. With the guidance of Donaldson’s Greenhouse & Nursery and a pinch of passion, the aromatic symphonies of your favorite herbs can echo throughout even the chilliest of winter nights. To a harvest filled with abundance and joy!