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Old 06-12-2009, 11:31 AM   #1
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Herbs

I'm growing some Mint / Oregano / Basil. What i'm wondering, when it comes time to start using them, how do i trim them from the plant to still promote new growth? do i just want to cut at the stem? or do i just pull the leaves off?

New to this.. obviously :)

s

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Old 06-12-2009, 11:36 AM   #2
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I'm growing some Mint / Oregano / Basil. What i'm wondering, when it comes time to start using them, how do i trim them from the plant to still promote new growth? do i just want to cut at the stem? or do i just pull the leaves off?

New to this.. obviously :)

s
i have grown basil and you need to pinch out the top leaves of each branch/off shoot so it will bush out and keep producing leaves, otherwise it will go to seed and no more new growth.
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Old 06-12-2009, 11:40 AM   #3
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oK, so by pinching, do you mean right above a few leaves, i pinch with my fingers and break it off?

out of curiosity, why would i want to pinch/break it off? why not use scissors?
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Old 06-12-2009, 11:49 AM   #4
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oK, so by pinching, do you mean right above a few leaves, i pinch with my fingers and break it off?

out of curiosity, why would i want to pinch/break it off? why not use scissors?
just pinch out the heart (don't break it off) of the very top of each shoot. just use your fingers becauce you don't want to damage the plant. my mom had a neon green thumb and her basil plants looked like bushes and we had so much basil we put it up in jars with olive oil and salt that lasted all winter (was wonderful to pour out the basil flavored oil to fry in or dip in). if you see white flowers it's to late, it has gone to seed. this is my experiences with basil. mine would go to seed if my mom didn't keep on me, hers never did.
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Old 06-12-2009, 03:57 PM   #5
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Actually:

1) You don't have to "pinch" off herb branches with your fingers - scissors work just fine. I use them all the time.

2) When your basil flowers, it hasn't "gone to seed" yet. It hasn't "gone to seed" until the flowers fade & seeds actually form. Either way though, as flowers &/or seeds form, do keep them cut off, otherwise the plant will consider its job done & will stop producing new foliage.
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Old 06-12-2009, 04:34 PM   #6
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Actually:

1) You don't have to "pinch" off herb branches with your fingers - scissors work just fine. I use them all the time.

2) When your basil flowers, it hasn't "gone to seed" yet. It hasn't "gone to seed" until the flowers fade & seeds actually form. Either way though, as flowers &/or seeds form, do keep them cut off, otherwise the plant will consider its job done & will stop producing new foliage.
like i said this is my experiences with basil. and i always think once they begin to flower the taste changes as the plant is getting ready to seed.
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Old 06-13-2009, 11:26 AM   #7
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Another note: as the end of the growing season approaches, two plusses to finally allowing your basil to go to seed are 1) once mature you can save & sow the seed next season, & 2) if you just leave the seed heads, you'll end up with a number of self-sown seedlings the following season. I have a bunch coming up just in a big pot that I had a basil plant in last summer.
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Old 06-13-2009, 02:30 PM   #8
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I'm so glad I'm not the only one "green" to learning more about basil. I have read your post with interest because I have a plant and want to start using it. In fact I have a post on here today about using the herb and have had some replies that I am going to use this afternoon and make some salad dressing.
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Old 06-13-2009, 06:16 PM   #9
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It looks like basil has been pretty well covered so I'm going to chime in about mint. No need to do anything to promote growth because it grows like crazy! Be sure you have it in a container or it will take over your garden. I planted some once before I knew this and it spread all over the place!
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Old 06-13-2009, 06:32 PM   #10
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It looks like basil has been pretty well covered so I'm going to chime in about mint. No need to do anything to promote growth because it grows like crazy! Be sure you have it in a container or it will take over your garden. I planted some once before I knew this and it spread all over the place!
you are so rite!! you can't kill them. my mom planted one of each peppermint and spearmint and we wound up with a forrest of them. her favorite uses were mint sweet tea and she would also thin slice zucchini, fry in olive oil then she would put the zucchini and oil in a bowl with mint leaves and chill, she loved them i didn't. our cat would sleep outside sometimes in the mint forrest and he smelled so good.
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Old 06-13-2009, 09:10 PM   #11
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I don't know if I would ever use mint, but I wish I had planted some parsley. It seems like a lot of recipes call for it.
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Old 06-13-2009, 09:19 PM   #12
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I grow sweet basil and parsley every year...those are two herbs that are really best fresh. You can grow them in pots, but they do a lot better in the ground.
While basil blooms are tasty on salads, it's best not to let it bloom until just before frost. Give you herbs frequent haircuts...the more you cut, the more you get...within reason, of course. Pick the leaves off AFTER you cut them.

Mint is another thing...I'll talk to you later about that.
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Old 06-14-2009, 08:28 AM   #13
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Hey Schoolgirl - if you have a farmer's market anywhere near, you might be able to find some potted parsley that you can re-plant into the ground. Try to get Italian parsley if you can.
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Old 06-14-2009, 09:55 AM   #14
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These are just my experience & opinions (but I did run my own herbal landscaping business in NY for awhile, so they do have some merit - lol!).

1) Mint - unless you have a lot of property where you have space to allow it to "run wild", plant ANY mints you purchase in containers - sunk into the ground or not. And even then, keep an eye on them. "Mountain Mint", which is a "clumper", is one of the few that don't "run", but it's not often used for culinary purposes.

2) Parsley - for cooking, Italian flat-leaf types are the BEST. The curly types are really only useful for garnishes. They have a coarse texture & seriously less flavor than the flat-leaf types. In fact, supermarkets around here only carry the flat-leaf types these days - guess they started to realize that "foodies" weren't much interested in the curly types. Parsley is also very easy to start from seed. It's an old wives' tale that it's difficult to germinate. Buy a pack & sow a few pots. As biennials, they also overwinter well. I can frequently harvest fresh flat-leaf parsley from pots covered with snow. Second year they flower & set seed, but you can still use the leaves for quite some time.

3) Farmers' markets can be a great place to pick up herb plants - especially this time of year. Our local one is chock full of herb plant vendors.
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Old 06-14-2009, 11:27 AM   #15
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Thanks for the suggestions. I noticed wal mart has a lot of plants left. Looks like they would cut the price and try to get rid of them. I did not know what type of parsley to buy , so now I know and I might can find some. Then I'll be asking for parsley recipes to try.LOL
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Old 06-14-2009, 11:48 AM   #16
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And re: parsley - supermarkets have definitely honed in on the difference. I can't even remember the last time I saw "curly" parsley for sale - it's all flat-leaf now (which it should be - lol!). These days, if you want curly parsley to use as a garnish, you have to grow it yourself; years ago, the opposite was true. But this is how it should be!

As far as recipes - flat-leaf parsley is used in any recipe calling for parsley (which is pretty much nearly all recipes - lol!). The only recipe I know of that calls for parsely as a main ingredient is Parsley Salad, but I find it a bit too parsley-strong for my taste.
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Old 06-14-2009, 11:53 AM   #17
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And re: parsley - supermarkets have definitely honed in on the difference. I can't even remember the last time I saw "curly" parsley for sale - it's all flat-leaf now (which it should be - lol!). These days, if you want curly parsley to use as a garnish, you have to grow it yourself; years ago, the opposite was true. But this is how it should be!

As far as recipes - flat-leaf parsley is used in any recipe calling for parsley (which is pretty much nearly all recipes - lol!). The only recipe I know of that calls for parsely as a main ingredient is Parsley Salad, but I find it a bit too parsley-strong for my taste.
i don't care for parsley pesto either for the same reason.
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Old 06-21-2009, 05:23 AM   #18
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Do not let your basil go to seed. Scizzors or pinching, it doesn't matter, but get those top four leaves and your plant will last all summer. As others have said, watch the friggin' mint. I had a separate mint patch and thought it would stay in control, but it jumped the walkway (brick, about 3' wide) and tried to take over the rest of the herb garden. Last year my husband got tired of tripping over it and took round up to the patch, then sank pots. It no longer will come back after a hard winter (no mint juleps for the derby) but I can have some for Asian cooking all summer anyway. Oregano and mint don't mind flowering, they continue to produce. But don't let your basil flower, your plant will last longer. Mint and Oregano, by the way, are perennials, you need to plant new basil every spring.
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Old 06-21-2009, 05:32 AM   #19
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One thing that calls for a lot of parsley as a main flavoring is taboule. Parsley, I was told (anyone out there correct me if I'm wrong) is high in vitamin C. Since I live in a small Midwestern town, I'm pretty much limited to Near East brand, which comes with a spice packet. I use that, but also go to the garden and harvest copious amounts of fresh parsley and sometimes mint, and when they come in, a tomato or three. This is perfect summertime eating because you just pour boiling water over the grains in the morning (I don't have a/c), put it in the fridge for the day, then at supper time toss in the herbs and tomatoes and you have a great salad/starch without having to heat up the kitchen.

And how about parsley potatoes? It was a favorite when I was a kid. Mom said she learned it in France; new potatoes, cooked slowly in butter (not supposed to be crisp, just whole and tender), and at the last minute generous amounts of parsley.
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Old 06-21-2009, 05:45 AM   #20
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One thing that calls for a lot of parsley as a main flavoring is taboule. Parsley, I was told (anyone out there correct me if I'm wrong) is high in vitamin C. Since I live in a small Midwestern town, I'm pretty much limited to Near East brand, which comes with a spice packet. I use that, but also go to the garden and harvest copious amounts of fresh parsley and sometimes mint, and when they come in, a tomato or three. This is perfect summertime eating because you just pour boiling water over the grains in the morning (I don't have a/c), put it in the fridge for the day, then at supper time toss in the herbs and tomatoes and you have a great salad/starch without having to heat up the kitchen.

And how about parsley potatoes? It was a favorite when I was a kid. Mom said she learned it in France; new potatoes, cooked slowly in butter (not supposed to be crisp, just whole and tender), and at the last minute generous amounts of parsley.
that sounds good!!
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