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Gardening: A Simplified Guide On How To Harvest Basil

Harvesting basil has been described as a rewarding process regardless of what stage you are as a gardener. In this short brief, we share some tips on how to make the harvest in ways that can promote growth and discourage flowering.

By Cookist
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Basil is a tasty herb that can be used in a variety of ways and is very rewarding to grow at home as long as it gets the right care.

Harvesting basil is a very important step that ensures the plant grows healthy and strong. Regular harvesting can promote new growth and it prevents the basil from flowering too early which negatively affects its flavor.

How To Harvest The Basil Without Doing Damage

There are some things you can do to make sure that your basil doesn’t get damaged during a harvest. This means the right technique has to be used and not too much must be harvested in one go.

The basil can be harvested at any point during its growth cycle. However, experts advice patience until it reaches maturity before harvesting begins so it can have the best flavor and be strong enough to endure a harvest.

For sweet basil, which is the most common variety, wait until the plant has developed at least 6-8 leaves per stem. This usually happens when the plant is between 6-8 inches tall. Keep an eye out for the leaf color: the leaves should be plump and dark green, and the plant should have a strong aroma.

Once a basil plant has reached maturity, the leaves can be harvested as often as you like. In fact, harvesting the leaves often will encourage the plant to produce more leaves and keep it from going to seed too quickly.

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How Much Can Be Harvested? 

With Basil, it is better to avoid harvesting more than a third of the plant at once and give it a chance to regrow before going in for another harvest. Basil grows annually in most places so the whole plant can be harvested at the end of the growing season. Cut the basil back and harvest the whole stem.

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How To Properly Harvest Basil So It Keeps Growing

Cutting basil the right way will encourage the growth of more leaves. To make sure this happens, do this:

Harvest the stems from the top down: You can remove the top part of the stem but always leave at least one leaf pair at the bottom.
Always make a cut right above a leaf pair: Do not leave a bare section of stem at the top. This leads to the growth of a bushy plant since the stem usually branches at the point it was cut.

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