Monday, July 11, 2011

Picking Techniques for Basil and Beans

When harvesting basil, I find it helpful to think about the way the plant grows, and how harvesting it can affect that directional growth. Imagine energy and nutrients coming up from the roots, into the basil stem, and out through its leaves. When you are harvesting, you always want to make a cut such that you are leaving the plant with a place for that energy and nutrients to go and be used. To do this, always cut immediately above, and as close as possible to, a set of leaves. This way, those leaves can receive the energy coming up the stem of the plant. You do not want to cut the stem half way between two sets of leaves, leaving a “stump” of a stem left. In this case, nutrients will travel up the stem, and come to a dead end, with no outlet for growth. This type of pruning or harvesting will encourage the basil to grow more bushy, with fuller branches and more leaves for you to harvest in the future!

Beans are much more easy to harvest than basil. The only thing you need to remember is that beans are fragile. I suggest harvesting with two hands, one holding the stem of the plant and one removing the actual bean. Sometimes if you just grab a bean, you’ll pull the whole branch, or even the whole plant out of the ground. Beans also really like to hide. In an effort to ease you all into camouflage bean hunting, our first planting of beans is purple! These purple beans should jump out more than the green ones that blend into the green leaves. Hopefully by the time the next planting comes in, which is green, you’ll be experts at spotting them in the jungle of bean bushes

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