Freshly picked herbs

How to pick herbs

Discover the best techniques for picking herbs, in our practical How-to guide.

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
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To do
To do

Do not To do in January

Do not To do in February

Do To do in March

Do To do in April

Do To do in May

Do To do in June

Do To do in July

Do To do in August

Do not To do in September

Do not To do in October

Do not To do in November

Do not To do in December

Culinary herbs are the original cut-and-come-again crop, and many benefit from regular pickings. Find out how to pick herbs from annual and perennial herbs, for the very best results, below.

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You Will Need

  • Home-grown herbs
  • Scissors

Total time:

Step 1

How to pick herbs - picking chives
How to pick herbs – picking chives

Chives grow quickly in spring and summer. Cut as you need them for use, trimming right down to the base. Keep four or five pots at the ready, so you always have some at different stages to harvest.

Step 2

How to pick herbs - picking parsley
How to pick herbs – picking parsley

When cutting parsley, always remove the whole leaf, together with the leaf stalk, nipping it back to where it joins the clump. Avoid harvesting the oldest leaves as these tend to be tough.

Step 3

How to pick herbs - picking rosemary
How to pick herbs – picking rosemary

Cutting rosemary for culinary use will prevent the plant from becoming woody. Use secateurs to trim 10cm – 15cm from each shoot, as required. Avoid cutting back into woody, leafless branches. Hang up bunches of rosemary to air dry, ready to use in winter.

Step 4

How to pick herbs - picking basil
How to pick herbs – picking basil

When harvesting basil, nip out with scissors or between finger and thumb, the tips of the plants back to just above a pair of leaves. New growth will emerge at this point. Don’t nip just below the leaf, leaving a short stem, as this will simply wither.

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  • Grow herbs in a sunny spot in the garden to get the best flavour from their leaves, but ensure the ground is rich and moist.
  • Harvest the leaves of annual herbs often to stop them going to seed.

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