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Author Topic: Best way to trim herbs  (Read 2470 times)
links272
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« on: March 01, 2009, 09:02:08 AM »

 
Hi everyone-- I've had my aero garden for a couple of months now. I got the usual package of herbs: italian Basil, purple basil, parsley, mint, thyme and dill. So far everything has been fine. Everything is/was growing nicely, at least by my standards. The only issue I have is that when we first needed to start harvesting the basil we did not pick it properly and we left a  few stem cut off right in the middle of the plant, instead of just above the second or third row of growth. Now I have a couple of stalks in the middle of the plant which are NOT receiving much light and having a hard time growing. They have small leave which don't look promising. I just would like to know the best way and time to pick all these herbs properly to promote future growth. Like, when do i pick my basil leaves? When they are blocking the light from the plants below it? When it starts to wilt slightly even though it is not full grown? What things do i just pick off to keep the plant clean? I have read some stuff on the net but I am more interested in what you guys have to say. Thanks.
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« on: March 01, 2009, 09:02:08 AM »

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shane arthur
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« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2009, 11:38:52 AM »

http://www.aerogrow.com/community/images/stories/file/THMini_HerbSeries.pdf

here is a guide on pruning the herbs. I do not have much experience with herb gardens, I'm addicted to lettuce and tomatoes. BUT no worries, our members love growing basil.
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Shane
links272
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« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2009, 04:16:09 PM »

Thanks alot Shane. That guide is REAl helpful. So you grow lettuce and tomato. You must have some pretty good salads. This Aero Garden is a gift I actually bought for my wife and now I have gotten interested in the whole thing myself. It's awesome. Living in NY we are only able to grow our outdoor garden for 6/7 months. It;s actually pretty nice. About 4 x 10. Bunch of different types of herbs. A few of them are perrenials. We just plant the rest. But this indoor garden is so cool. I just want to make sure I am harvesting my plants the right way. Today I cut the stem of my Purple Basil . Supposedly this will make the plant more bushy. We'll see what happens. Take care.
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shane arthur
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« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2009, 04:25:18 PM »

the funny thing is i don't eat veggies hehe i just love growing them!
I live in an apartment, so i do not have any outdoor space to grow so the aerogardens have been a treasure to me. Do you have any pictures? We are addicted to Eye Candy here

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Namaste,

Shane
links272
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« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2009, 04:57:35 PM »

Now I assume of course you are talking about pictures of the herbs, right? Hey, I can do that. I have never actually uploaded pics to send. I have uploaded documents and I'm sure it is the same thing.
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Aphraeleiss
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« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2009, 05:03:18 PM »

I usually just cut right above the 3rd set of leaves initially at about 3-4 weeks post starting the garden, and once it takes off I cut back to 2 sets of leaves or leaves large enough to take my fancy. I definitely cut it back more aggressively than is recommended but I still harvest about 1 cup of basil every 3-4 days from 1 AG, which is more than enough for anything I cook. I don't actually eat that much but it's fun to just keep chopping and have it come right back. I have not raised the lights of my AG at all even though it is day 74 right now. Granted I did start some of the basil about a month in because I kept fiddling with hydrogen peroxide and burnt the roots twice, so I had to restart some.
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links272
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« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2009, 05:28:53 PM »

Hi Aphraeleiss-- glad to hear that your basil is doing so well. How many basil plants are you talking about that gives you a cup every 3-4 days? That must be nice. Basial is so good. Pesto is great. Anyway, I wish i could trim my plants about the third level. The problem is my plants are either blooming real low, with 1 incl leaves, blooming like 6 inches up the plant with no real leaf growth on the way up. Or they have two tiny leaves on inch off the ground and a one inch set of  leaves like 6-7 inches up. I know we trimmed wrong to start. I just want to get them going again, you know? The other herbs are all doing fine. Take care.

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Aphraeleiss
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« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2009, 06:03:52 PM »

I'd leave it to recover before pruning. Sometimes it stretches out and grows real spindly, and instead of snipping the stems, snip off the big leaves. Not ideal but it works to signal the plant to grow more leaves further down once the top leaves are close enough to the lights.

I *think* I have about 30+ plants in the AG. I have pods ranging from 2 plants each to 7-8 plants, all bountiful.
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links272
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« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2009, 03:59:30 PM »

Hi again-- I have made some progress with my basial situation. I am just not real sure I am harvesting properly. It says in the aero guide to pinch the plant just above the uppermost set of leaves--to promote growth. It says to do this at the top of the stalks each week. So let me ask you-- this refers to the smallest set of leaves growing at the very top of the stems,right? It just seems to ameteurs like me that I am cutting something that could possibly grow into a nice set of leaves. Is there a certain size that these leaves should be before doing this? So when do i harvest the larger leaves? I usually harvest randomly--just plucking the larger leaves when they look ready to pick. I just want to get the growth going without killing the plant. Thanks for your help.

Oh yeah--I have taken several pictures of my aero garden. However, I just have not transferred them as of yet. I'm sure I will be able to figure out the transfer process. Do you just go to click image?[/img]

Anyway, thanks for your help.
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Bobbie
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« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2009, 04:54:44 PM »

It's hard to get used to pruing one's plants--something in us wants them to grow TALL.  When I had my first AG herb garden, I prided myself every time I raised the lights.  The result was that my taller herbs--basil and dill--grew long and leggy, but the others just languished. 

I'm much more corageous with this new garden, and the plants are all thriving.  YES--nip off that little top set of leaves.  It seems cruel, but it somehow stimulates the plant to put more emphasis into growth further down on the stem, so the plant grows out instead of up.  Clip the big leaves that overshadow other plants.  I've grown to understand that actaully tending the garden this way is both better for the plants and makes havig the AG more pleasurable--thre's something that's good for the soul about gardening, no matter how it's done.
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Bobbie
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« Reply #10 on: March 07, 2009, 06:45:18 PM »

Thanks for the great information. I have just pinched the top of one of my basil plants. It sound like I have not been harvesting the basil the right way. There is not thickness to any of my plants. Just basicall long and sparse to medium. Two sets of leaves and in a few of the plants the lower level is almost non-existent.

Does that go for purple basil as well?  My plant is growing kinda nicely. I'm new so I don't know what to compare it to but it. The plant is like 6" tall. Only has two main sets of leaves. 3"" and 6'' up the plant. The top section had 3 main branches and the middle branch was the tallest. I was told to clip this tallest branch (the one in the middle of the three)  to promote bushiness to the plant. It seems to have worked. The two tallest branches are budding nicely. But my concern is that the plant is not AT ALL what you would call bushy.

Thanks alot for helping me. I have read a lot of your posts and you certainly know your stuff.
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Bobbie
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« Reply #11 on: March 07, 2009, 07:03:46 PM »

Should work just as well with purple basil.  It does take time to achieve bushiness.  I was really worried that my current basil was hopelessly leggy; but as I've consistenly pruned the tops, it's continued to get bushier. 
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Bobbie
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« Reply #12 on: March 07, 2009, 07:57:52 PM »

 So, pruning the tops of these basial plants is necessary, to say the least. Not that I am a trying to think like a biologist, but exactly how does the pruning of the top of the plant make the plant bushier? After I pinch the top, that area looks kinda empty and I am just hoping that the plant has more growth.
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Bobbie
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« Reply #13 on: March 07, 2009, 08:03:30 PM »

I'm afriad I don't have a scientific explanation as to why it works; I just know from experience that it does.  It's scary--at first, it looks empty, true.  But if you look closely, there are all sorts of little side buds.  when you pinch off the top buds, the side buds take over.
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Bobbie
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« Reply #14 on: March 10, 2009, 12:11:20 PM »

Thanks Bobby-- Like I told you, i have started to pinch my basil, both Purple and Italian. I just started to see some of thos side buds you were talking about. Prett cool stuff. Now, should I also pinch the tops of the lower plants on the stem as well? Or is it JUST the very top of each plant?

I also wanted to ask you about the Purple Basil. The color seems to be developing sort of an an ashy look to it. It is just not the seem deep, rich color it was, especially the lower leaves. . That's been going on for a few weeks now. It still has pretty much the same aroma.
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drdave501
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« Reply #15 on: March 10, 2009, 02:37:55 PM »

 Wink Links272,
     
     I don't normally recommend aggressive trimming, however I had some leggy Basil and was able to top the plant successfully.  If your Basil has a large "v" in its branches your in luck.  Cut off one whole side, let the cut side recover and build some leaves.  Then cut the other side of the "v" and wait for it to recover.  I am quickly finding out Basil is remarkably healthy and will tolerate a lot.  I hop this helps.
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Aphraeleiss
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« Reply #16 on: March 10, 2009, 04:14:33 PM »

Red varieties of basil produce pigment to guard against strong sunlight. The AG light isn't quite strong enough for the pigmentation to be sustained. It will just go back to greenish looking with purple veins and speckling throughout. Mine was never red to start with, but the nursery grow dark opals kept in the sun were glorious. Still tastes good though.

My basils were leggy and I just topped them all the time. They're very bushy now.
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« Reply #17 on: March 12, 2009, 09:54:27 AM »

Thanks for the help to all of you. I just noticed that two of my basil plants have that "V" growth you were referring to. So do I clip it right up to the end..the main stem of the plant....I assume I do. Why leave a partial branch with no leaves on it right? Of the two "V" plants one has much larger leaves, althogh neither are real large.....from an inch to two inches. I was also wondering what to do with my "non-performers." I have a few plants that are like 3-6 inches high that are real leggy-- very small leaves right at the top of the plant, that rarely get any light and are basically not growing. I am dying to do SOMETHING with them--I just don't know WHAT yet. One of the three has an actual basil leave about an inch long. The others have these 1/4 inch leaves. I am going to try to put up the pictures just to make things much easier. The good news is that I am definitely seeing more growth on the health basil plants since I piched the tops last Sunday. Can I also pich a lower brances tops? One of my plants has two main branches and I piched the top leaves. I just don't know if I should pinch the lower branch as well. One last question-- generally how long does this process take, cutting off the whole branch? A month or so?

I didn't know about purple basil using light for its coloration. My purple basil has two main levels of growth. The lower level has five leaves, about an inch or so long, a  much more ashen color and the leaves are shaped somewhat differentyl. I was wondering if I should just harvest them and hope for new growth.I see some small growth coming in along the main stem of the plant. Generally, the growth is pretty slim on this lower branch--no doubt. The top is doing real well, much more buds and things. Have a good day.
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links272
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« Reply #18 on: March 14, 2009, 09:02:46 AM »

Here are the pictures of my AG.

When I first started I didn't know how to prune the basial plants. I think thats why they are so leggy. Since I have started to pinch them I have definitely noticed new growth down the plants. Look at the purple basil. It only has two levels of growth although since I started pinching more buds are starting to sprout. Is it too late to get these plants going?

The other plants are doing fine--especially the dill, mint and parsley. The chives look pretty weak, don't they?


* 0312091436[1].jpg (184.68 KB, 1280x960 - viewed 177 times.)
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links272
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« Reply #19 on: March 14, 2009, 09:07:42 AM »

Well, even though I attached 5 documents only one wes sent. Not sure what I did wrong.
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