Nature Walk // Schueman Park

With a full crew we loaded up and went to Schueman Park today. This park is a unique one for us in the fact that there isn’t a playground. Something about removing that from the picture helps keep the kids involved in the walk. We all ooo’ed and aww’ed over the long tendrils reaching out at nothing and insanely wide variety of vegetation. The boys wanted to stand there and wait for the vines to grab onto their fingers.

Schueman Park is quiet and nestled away from the highway in Oakland. Offering a few BBQ pits and large grassy knolls making it a great spot to host a cookout or throw a get together. I feel it is underused for the amount of space available and potential for what could be hosted there for personal and citywide events. Most of the park is covered in shade due to the large trees present throughout as well as a full tree line heading down into the creek.


Tree line with vegetation

If you’re an explorer like my youngest and I and want to get down to the creek make sure you wear long socks and are ready to deal with nettles. Jamie Fowler talked about a lot of the great benefits of Nettle Tea on the foraging walk. They are in abundance all over the forest floor. Some other highly populated plants in the area include Mulberry Trees, Tree of Heaven, American Bellflower, and Bristly greenbrier to name a few. Jamie Fowler talked about a lot of the great benefits of Nettle Tea on our



On this walk today we didn’t spot too many critters or creatures. The only one we saw was a Red-Tailed Hawk. Noah spotted it through the tree line and said it looked like it had landed. After we sat and listened to it for a minute the caw didn’t sound like an adult hawk. That left our family to wonder if there was maybe a nest close by. The wooded area would be perfect for them with plenty of small creatures for hunting and a water source right there.



We did manage to identify a species of Honeysuckle that is an invasive shrub and harbors a poisonous(to humans) berry and conducted some field education on the subject matter with the boys.


Honeysuckle

Honeysuckle isn’t completely bad in the fact that it is a surefire way to attract birds to any garden. The shrub provides year round protection for nesting and with the berries ripening during the summer and maintaining until fall it provides tons of insects for any hungry passerby’s.



Keep mother nature alive and prospering, your own livelihood depends on it.

I am an affiliate and links located throughout the article will provide me with a commission on any purchases made.

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Myers Greens LLC

Myers Greens is a nursery located in southwest Iowa. With the main goal of providing top quality microgreens and fresh herbs. Follow the blog to keep up to date on what we are growing.

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Myers Greens Update April 2022

What a crazy start to the year and I am happy it is finally warming up outside! Tons of things are happening on the Myers Greens front that I will get into further down below. I just want to say that even with all the crazy bad happening around there is still tons of good people sprinkled everywhere. Enough of that stuff though onto the greens…..

5″ x 5″ Trays of Microgreens!

This smaller tray size will make purchasing a tray a lot less intimidating, I thought about it and who would want to eat a whole 10″ x 20″ tray at the start. So with that I now have 5×5 trays available. The price is going to be $5 with an initial $1 deposit for trays. I’m hoping to attract a crowd that is more timid to try them out. Once people try them they are going to love them, I know it!


Basil Microgreens

I finally have my ratio for seeds figured out on the smaller trays and am ramping up the scale in the next grow by adding 6 more trays. So fingers crossed that all goes well. The first set grew good at first but you could tell that overcrowding led to the demise of the whole set. The fix for this is going to be to lessen the seeds by another 0.1 oz. making it to a total of 0.6 oz.


House Plants that I need to identify

I was gifted a truck load of plants, a literal truck load which I am super grateful for. I am considering it the payment for helping them move furniture. Anyways I need to get them all identified and labeled. Once I figure out what they all are I can get them on the right watering schedule. Pictures will be coming later on once I identify them.


Farmer’s Market

I am obtaining my licenses to operate at the Farmer’s Markets around Southwest Iowa and look forward to seeing everyone there. I will announce on Facebook where we will be at and what will be available at the market. As always if you would like to try some microgreens reach out on Facebook or myersgreens12@gmail.com


Garden Plants

As of right now we only have our side garden to use but I am hopeful that another will present itself. I have a couple of leads to try yet and have the plants to put in it. I have Basil, Tomatoes, Catnip, and Lettuce(2nd round) ready to go in the ground. Excited to see what we will be able to trade for this year. I would like to kind of cultivate that around the community more, the idea of trading the garden goods for other garden goods. Would almost make the produce section obsolete at the grocery store. Huh strange thought.


What I’m looking forward to this year

What I’m looking forward to this year

Getting our name out there and presenting one of the best in both nutrition and deliciousness greens you can get. Once people try them it will become a part of there meal enjoyed completely fresh.



Keep mother nature alive and prospering, your own livelihood depends on it.


More from the blog

Myers Greens LLC

Myers Greens is a nursery located in southwest Iowa. With the main goal of providing top quality microgreens and fresh herbs. Follow the blog to keep up to date on what we are growing.

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What Does Adding Biochar (Charcoal) do to your garden?

The question appeared in my mind “What does charcoal actually do in gardening?”. So, I started digging and I am now going to be adding biochar to most of my garden beds in the future. The benefits are great and anyone with a few trees can create there own.

The Benefits To Be Had


Adding charcoal or “biochar” to your garden has a great deal of benefits. By providing a very porous and sturdy surface larger pieces of biochar provide a great aeration aspect. One of the benefits that I consider “major” is the water and nutrient retention. Through the same porous surface this is made possible.

Helps with runoff

As you water your garden the excess nutrients that didn’t get absorbed by any plants will get pushed into the ground water. One way to help prevent this runoff is by adding biochar to your garden. The water and nutrients become absorbed into the charcoal and is released into the soil at a later point.

Great aeration

By creating pockets of loose soil the charcoal creates a lighter and better aerated soil. It can also be used in the bottom of flower pots as a lighter replacement for gravel.

Awesome soil additive

With a high potassium content biochar is an alternative for the lime that gets added to your garden beds. It also happens to increase the pH level, making it a great additive for your roses. When planting orchids it can be used to substitute some of the wood normally needed.

Creating Your Own Biochar

Materials
  • A hole in the ground (around 8 – 12 inches deep / however wide you like)
    • Keep in mind you will be moving this dirt back so don’t go too big
  • Dried Yard waste
    • Tree Branches
    • Leaves
    • Garden waste such as corn stalks
  • A way to light it on fire
    • Magnifying Glass and Sunlight
    • Lighter

Caution

Do not use any additive or accelerants to your fire as it can be absorbed into the charcoal and would not be beneficial to you or your plants.

  • A shovel
    • Not required but easier than doing it with your hands

Steps

Circle Hole: Easy method, less biochar, more smoke, and greater pollutants

  1. Place your materials to be burned into your hole.
  2. Light it on fire
    • This is where you will need to watch the fire as it will happen kind of quickly
    • First the smoke will be white (water vapor)
    • Then it will turn a yellowish color (starches and sugars)
    • Finally it will turn grey (carbon)
  3. Once the smoke turns grey you will want to cover it with soil leaving a small hole for oxygen control
  4. After the fire has smoldered for long enough, most of the wood will be covered in white ash with black undercoat.
    • This takes some skill and judgment to achieve the correct amount of time
  5. Next you will cover the fire with water putting it out and stopping the burning process.
  6. Once the fire has been extinguished you can uncover it and voila you have lumps of biochar.
  7. Breaking up the biochar at this point adds the porous effect mentioned earlier.
  8. The final step in this process is you will need to charge the biochar

Charging Your Biochar

If you attempt to add the biochar to your soil “raw” then it will essentially steal the nutrients from the plants during the first few months. This is from the great nutrient and water retention mentioned earlier. Charging your biochar is a fairly simple process, you will need to make a compost tea. You can create a simple tea by mixing your finished compost with water, once mixed in you can add your biochar letting it soak in and absorb. Once done you can add the finished mixture to your garden beds.


Cone Hole: More Biochar and less pollutants

As described by Allotment-garden.com in an article named “How to make Biochar at home

  • Start by digging a cone shaped pit. The size is variable, but I’d suggest no bigger than a metre in diameter at the top or it will get too hot and need too much wood to keep fed. 60 cm is a reasonable size for a first burn.
  • Get a pile of wood together, cut into convenient lengths around 30 cm is best. Keep this back from the pit as you don’t want it catching fire prematurely! Brash wood is ideal for making biochar.
  • Start by building a small fire in the base of the cone, using dry twigs. Once this is going well begin adding some more twigs and then larger pieces of wood. Let these burn until they start turn white.
  • Then add another layer of wood. Once again wait until this turns black and starts to develop a layer of white ash. Keep repeating until you reach the top of the cone or run out of wood.
  • Allow the top layer to burn until it too develops the white ash coating on the black sticks.
  • Now quench the fire by adding water. It will take more water than you might imagine, keep pouring it on until the pit is full or you’re certain the fire is totally extinguished. You can check by moving the top layers with a metal spade. The base should be cool. Do be very careful.

After the Burn

Remove the charcoal and break it up into small pieces. You can bag the charcoal and trample it or hit with a lump hammer. Or place into a strong large bucket or trug and pound it with a piece of wood. The finished product should pass through a garden soil sieve.

You’re now ready to charge your biochar prior to using.

Adding Biochar To Your Garden

With all of these benefits mentioned they do come with a word of caution. Biochar is not the answer to all of your problems in the garden and adding to much would not be beneficial.

By sparingly using it as an additive along with your normal regiment of doctoring you do to your soil it can have some long lasting great benefits. Sprinkle it on top of the soil, or mix it in prior to planting for the season. It’s up to you!

If you found the article interesting or helpful in anyway please share it to Facebook or any other social media outlet as it helps me out tremendously.


Keep mother nature alive and prospering, your own livelihood depends on it.

I am an affiliate and links located throughout the article will provide me with a commission on any purchases made.

More from the blog

Myers Greens LLC

Myers Greens is a nursery located in southwest Iowa. With the main goal of providing top quality microgreens and fresh herbs. Follow the blog to keep up to date on what we are growing.

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The Bald Eagle & It’s Journey to Today

From the endangered species list in 1978 to being completely removed from the Endangered and Threatened species list in 2007. This resilient bird has been put through the ringer and deserves appreciation. When threatened with extinction from over hunting and the use of DDT the population was dwindled down to fewer than 450 mated pairs in the early 1960s.

Endangered to Thriving

Hunted, forgotten, and thought of as a nuisance the bald eagles were almost allowed to disappear off this plant. They were declared the American national bird in 1782, at that time the estimated population was in the hundreds of thousands. The rapid decline to the population in the following years was mostly due to human activities and persecution.

Photo by Frank Cone on Pexels.com

With the lower numbers of nested pairs and the increased use of DDT in American agriculture it created a perfect storm to push the bald eagle onto the endangered species list.

“This pesticide accumulated in the birds’ tissues and interfered with the formation of the shells of their eggs; the thin, weak shells laid by heavily contaminated birds were easily broken and fewer young were produced. By the early 1960s, the number of bald eagles in the coterminous United States had dropped to fewer than 450 nesting pairs.”

Britannica

By the late 1980s several measures had been put in place to help increase the population and by 1995 the bird had been reclassified from endangered to threatened. In the year 2000 there was an estimated more than 6,300 pairs of bald eagles, and in 2007 it was removed the the US list of endangered and threatened species.

To this day I am so proud of the work that people have done to undo the wrongs that were just ways of life back then. Because of the actions of certain people I can enjoy a bald eagle having his lunch right next to me while I’m enjoying mine. All along the Nodaway River in Iowa the bald eagles nest and hunt. Lucky for me that’s where I work at quite a bit too.


Bald eagle timeline

Nesting, Pairing, and Mating

Bald eagles are an exceptional animal and the habits are nothing short of. Nesting for a bald eagle is a process, that process can change if they are returning to the same nest as a previous year or if they are scouting for new territory.

Photo by mana5280 on Unsplash

The act of building the nest is a part of the breeding process, both the male and female will build together and share in almost the entire hatching/raising process. Both will incubate the eggs and both will help feed the eaglets. This isn’t a small nest either, about 5 feet wide and 2-3 feet deep. Older nests can be much larger with the biggest on record at 9.5 feet wide and 20 feet deep weighing almost 3 tons. The eagles will gather sticks and branches and filler to build a nest up on a secluded tree or cliff side near a water source. They keep the nest within easy access to water to assist with raising the eaglets. Each year they will add more and more to the same nests.

The criteria to return to a nest is if they had success hatching eaglets the previous year. Pairs of eagles will usually return to the same mating territory as the previous year unless there was an issue during the breeding and hatching process.

Bald eagles will mate with the same eagle year after year. However, if one of the mates fails to show up they are usually quick to find another. Reaching maturity at 4-5 years of age there are plenty of other mates in the sky.

Photo by Djo Hm on Pexels.com
Why is that bald eagle brown?

Once bald eagles reach maturity at 4-5 years of age, the brown color will turn to white indicating that they are ready and at a mature mating age.

Where to find out more

If you found the article interesting or helpful in anyway please share it to Facebook or any other social media outlet as it helps me out tremendously.

Keep mother nature alive and prospering, your own livelihood depends on it.

I am an affiliate and links located throughout the article will provide me with a commission on any purchases made.

More from the blog

Myers Greens LLC

Myers Greens is a nursery located in southwest Iowa. With the main goal of providing top quality microgreens and fresh herbs. Follow the blog to keep up to date on what we are growing.

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Vegetables And Herbs You Can Grow In Containers This Winter

Obtaining fresh vegetables and herbs during the winter time can be difficult in some regions without breaking the bank. Why not grow your own indoors? If you have a spare window or a room that gets a few hours of sunlight a day it is possible with the right vegetable/herb variety.


Vegetables and Herbs to try growing this winter

  • Kitchen Herbs
  • Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Eggplant
  • Radishes
  • Beets
  • Swiss Chard
  • Green Onions
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce


Already know what you want to grow? Check out this article!

Kitchen Herbs

There are a wide variety of kitchen herbs that can be grown in containers. Below I have listed out some general requirements for each herb, remember there are many varieties of these plants choosing the right one will give get you started growing a good looking herb to put into your Holiday Dinner.

Basil

An easy plant to grow basil is used in a wide variety of dishes. One of my favorite things to do is put fresh cut basil leaves onto a frozen pizza. Toss them on about 10 minutes before its done cooking and the pizza will have the aroma and flavor of the basil. With proper trimming and pruning the basil plant can keep producing for you all winter long.

Excess basil can be stored by drying it in the oven or on a drying rack.

Sunlight: 6 – 8 Hours / day : Can grow easily in a sunny window.

Pot Depth: At least 6 inches (~15 cm), the more room the roots have to grow and expand the more the top of the plant will leaf out.

Water: Basil prefers to keep moist soil, not wet. Keeping the soil at the right moisture level will ensure no root rot sets in and your plant keeps growing and growing.

Caring for: Trimming and pruning your basil plant will cause it to explode with foliage growth. I have covered Trimming and Pruning extensively in a separate post.

How to Prune/Trim Basil for a Better Harvest (and how to store the all the extra)

Basil is a plant that benefits greatly from regular pruning and trimming. I have laid out some of the best ways to prune your basil and keep it growing further into the season. When trimmed properly you can obtain a large batch of basil with every harvest. No matter what type of Basil you areContinue reading “How to Prune/Trim Basil for a Better Harvest (and how to store the all the extra)”


Cilantro

A hardy plant that can thrive in partial shade. Using cilantro is up to your own taste buds. It can be used in vegetable salads, fish, relishes, soups, stews, curries, and tomato sauces.

Cilantro does not keep well, it is recommended that you only harvest when you are ready to use it. Once the top of your plant is spent don’t toss it out. Even the roots can be used, chop the roots finely to add a powerful flavor to any dish.

Sunlight: 6 – 8 Hours / day : Will tolerate shade.

Pot Depth: At least 12 inches (~30 cm) deep, cilantro produces a taproot which will use the extra depth to produce a larger foliage.

Water: Keeping the soil evenly moist will produce the best harvest. Attempt to avoid overhead watering later in the growth cycle as this will hinder seed production.

Caring for: With this plant, grab what you want to use as it is coming in. Taller stems may require staking and pinching off any flowers will slow the bolting process.


Lemon Balm

As a quick propagator and easy to grow plant lemon balm is a great addition to any kitchen garden indoors or out. This herb is great for adding a zest to sweet dishes. As a general rule of thumb any dish that uses lemon juice can be improved with the addition of fresh lemon balm leaves.

Sunlight: 6 – 8 Hours / day : Will tolerate shade.

Pot Depth: At least 8 inches (~15 cm) wide and deep.

Water: Lemon Balm is one of the few herbs that can handle moist soil. Do not allow it to dry out.

Caring for: Lemon Balm spreads underground which is what makes it such a good propagator. It is possible to over-winter your plant in a garage or covered patio as it can withstand freezing temperatures. Prior to freezing temperatures you will want to trim back the plant to 2 inches(~5 cm), it may freeze but will return in spring with new growth.


Potatoes

This vegetable requires a little more work than just plopping it into a container and watching your the fruits of your labor come to your dinner plate. Potatoes are grown using a process called “hilling”, I cover this in detail below.

Choosing the proper potatoes (meaning certified seed potatoes) for planting will give you a warm and fuzzy feeling knowing that you are using disease-free seeds. Most nurseries and certified seed distributers will carry what you are looking for.

The “Hilling” process

This process isn’t much different from the usual way that plants grow. It just requires a little human intervention. Starting out you will want about 3 inches (~8 cm) of soil, then placing your seed potatoes cuttings on top of the soil. After this cover your seeds with around 1 – 4 inches (2.5 cm – 10 cm) of soil. Now you continue to water and give it the right amount of sunlight. Once your plants are around 6 inches (15 cm) you are going to want to “hill” soil around the plant and bury 1/3 of it. The hilling process is essential to a good harvest and will benefit your belly greatly.

Sunlight: 6 – 8 Hours / day : Will tolerate shade.

Pot Depth: At least 15 inches (~40 cm) deep, the width can vary and will determine the amount of plants you can grow at one time. A container with a 14 inch (~36 cm) width has enough room to grow about 3 starts.

Water: You will want to give your potatoes plenty of water however, you do not want them to be soggy. With a well draining soil and cloth pot keep an eye on the moisture level of the soil as it can dry out fairly quickly.

Caring for: Water and sun will give you potatoes. Harvesting your potatoes will be done after flowering has occurred and the stems have turned yellow. Once your stem has turned colors stop watering for 1 to 2 weeks. Once the wait period is over, harvest your tubers from the ground and store in a cool dry place for around 2 weeks to allow for the them to cure.

Carrots

“Meh, what’s up Doc?” — Growing carrots in a container during the winter is a surefire way to be all the buzz with delicious fresh carrots in a stew on a cold day.

Growing carrots is simple enough it just requires a deep enough pot to support the deeper root structure of this plant. A 10 gallon grow bag can hold 24 to 36 carrots.

Sunlight: 6 – 8 Hours / day : Will tolerate shade.

Pot Depth: It is recommended to use a deeper container, the depth will have a direct impact on the size of your carrots. The 10 gallon grow bag is around 16 inches (40 cm) across. Root depth can range from 2 inches (5 cm) to 1 foot (30 cm) or more. Ensure you have a deep enough container for whichever seeds you choose.

Water: Not watering your carrots enough will result in small limpy things, I don’t think anybody wants that. Lightly moist but not wet is a good medium to keep your soil at.

Caring for: As your carrots grow it is recommended if any of the tops are exposed you perform the “hilling” technique discussed above. For harvesting you can pull them up as soon as the roots are large enough to eat, you do not have to harvest the entire crop at once.


Many many more options available

Growing your own vegetables and herbs indoors is an easy way and relaxing way to obtain some of the freshest ingredients. During the dead of winter the aroma and flavor added to a dish is like finding a warm patch of sun to snuggle up into.

The amount of options available are limited only by what you consider to be an acceptable amount of floor space taken up by plants. Maybe you want to grow a lemon tree inside all year? Maybe you want some fresh tomatoes to harvest in January and have no idea where you will put them when they get to be 8 feet tall. Just go for it, grow that food, start moving toward sustaining yourself.

If you found the article interesting or helpful in anyway please share it to Facebook or any other social media outlet as it helps me out tremendously.

Keep mother nature alive and prospering, your own livelihood depends on it.

I am an affiliate and links located throughout the article will provide me with a commission on any purchases made.

More from the blog

Myers Greens LLC

Myers Greens is a nursery located in southwest Iowa. With the main goal of providing top quality microgreens and fresh herbs. Follow the blog to keep up to date on what we are growing.

Who We Are

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Tools and Tips for Growing Plants Indoors During Winter

Being prepared for growing indoors is no small feat. There are a lot of factors that can come into play. Lighting, soil, and the container are what I consider the main things that can dampen your spirits before you even get started. I have covered below some of the things that should be considered when/before purchasing any equipment.

Light

During the winter solstice the sun is only up for around 8 hours. Your plants will not be very happy if that is the only photons they are able to absorb. It is recommended that you get a lower power grow light if you have them placed near a window such as Microwatt 14W Grow Light. If you do not have any window space available and will be providing all artificial sunlight you will need a more powerful light, such as 50 Watt Grow Light Panel.

Different styles and what to avoid

Each light will fit a different situation better than the next. You will want to avoid your cheapest option on Amazon, but the price isn’t the only indicator you should look for. The Spruce covered The 8 Best Grow Light of 2021 in an extensive article with user reviews.

There are many types of grow lights available, so how do you determine which one is right for you? Telescoping lights, for instance where you may have multiple plants in a group and need the light to be able to move around. Area lights which usually suspend from the ceiling offering a larger floor coverage. Contained systems which are prebuilt into shelving units, as well as screw in bulbs for any room in your house.


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Containers

Where to source your container? The terms reduce, reuse, and recycle come to mind first. That old coffee container, or can, or ice cream tub could all be full of dirt and teeming with life. One important thing to note about making your own pots would be that you will need to add drainage holes first.

Tip on drilling holes into plastic

Place a piece of wood beneath the hole location, this will prevent you from cracking your container and having to recycle it to a melt pile.

Another option is to purchase grow bags, pots, or any other type of container a marketer can imagine up. I recommend grow bags they come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The Gro Pro Round Fabric Pots are cheap and durable, they are available in 15 and 7 gallon sizes. An added bonus to grow bags is how easy they are to move and reposition.


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Soil

The quality of the potting soil you use will greatly affect the outcome of your crop and your overall happiness with your own green thumb. There is one potting soil that stands out above the rest, FoxFarm Happy Frog Potting Soil.

Nutrient rich, Happy Frog® Potting Soil is highly recommended for container gardens. Ready to use right out of the bag and is pH adjusted to allow for maximum nutrient uptake. Our unique mix is alive with beneficial soil microbes and mycorrhizal fungi that dramatically expand root development enabling plants to feed more aggressively. The benefits of this premium select potting soil are strong plant structure, vigorous vegetative growth, with enhanced fruit and flower production.

Mixing your own

If you are interested in saving some money and learning about what goes into creating a perfect concoction for your plants I have covered all things soil in this article on raised bed soil, the same methods and practices can be put into use in an indoor container.

If you found the article interesting or helpful in anyway please share it to Facebook or any other social media outlet as it helps me out tremendously.

Keep mother nature alive and prospering, your own livelihood depends on it.

I am an affiliate and links located throughout the article will provide me with a commission on any purchases made.

More from the website

Myers Greens LLC

Myers Greens is a nursery located in southwest Iowa. With the main goal of providing top quality microgreens and fresh herbs. Follow the blog to keep up to date on what we are growing.

Who We Are

About
Connect

Follow Us

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How to Prune/Trim Basil for a Better Harvest (and how to store the all the extra)

Basil is a plant that benefits greatly from regular pruning and trimming. I have laid out some of the best ways to prune your basil and keep it growing further into the season. When trimmed properly you can obtain a large batch of basil with every harvest.


Misted Basil Leaves

No matter what type of Basil you are growing, Lemon Basil, Holy Basil, or Genovese Basil, all types benefit from regular pruning and trimming. Obtaining a large bushy basil plant is as simple as heading out with your garden scissors (fingers) and pinching off around a 1/3 of the herb. This is covered in greater detail below.

How soon should I trim them?

If you started your plants from seed, once the plants are around 4″-6″ (~10 cm -15cm) tall. The spot to trim it back to will depend on the plant sitting in front of you, a good guide would be to remove around 1/3 of the top stem or just above a good set of leaves. This is important for this stage of the plants growth as it will promote two larger branches to develop by the height of the growing season. You will be swimming in a sea of basil if this is done properly.

What if I bought my basil from the store and it’s already bigger?

With a larger basil plant you can still trim it back to a good set of leaves. By buying a larger plant you are presented with another option, you could propagate more basil. If you have a healthy section of stem with some leaves on it you can place that trimming into a glass of water and watch new roots grow. I recommend changing out your water every other day or so to help prevent disease. Once the roots have grown to a respectable length, go ahead and pot that whole new plant up. (Thanks for the free plants Wal-Mart).

Pruning during the season

There are some great benefits to pruning your Basil regularly. First and foremost it promotes new healthy growth. By trimming on the go you have access to some of the freshest herbs in the kitchen. Most of my basil trimmings end up on top of a cardboard pizza (frozen pizza), definitely makes that $3 meal feel Fancy. The third benefit is to promote growth later in the season as well. Once basil plants produce flowers they will expend less nutrients on growing vegetation.

Non-trimmed Sweet Basil

3 Reasons To Regularly Trim Basil

  • Promotes new expansive growth, by increasing the amount of stems to produce leaves.
  • Great to use in the kitchen as a fresh herb, I mean it’s only 15 ft. away from your cutting board.
  • Trimming flowers later in the season to help encourage more vegetation growth.

Trimming Method

When trimming basil plucking individual leaves will not stimulate growth. The way to trim and stimulate growth is to remove the entire stem section just above a good set of leaves. As a general rule it is best to not remove more than 1/3 of the plant at a time. This ensures it can survive the pruning process and produce more to harvest.

Trimming or Pinching Basil

Once trimmed you will start to see the new growth in the next couple of days. Enjoy watching your basil plant become a bush and at that point you will have more than you know what to do with. This is where drying or freezing your basil can come in handy.

If you don’t want to pinch the stems in fear of ripping your whole plant out of the ground a good pair of garden shears will do the trick as well.


Before Trimming
Before Trimming Photo

After Trimming
After Trimming Photo

After trimming your basil, it may look sad for a few days, this is normal as it is for all of us when we lose a part of ourselves. Be like the basil plant and come back renewed and bigger than ever. No matter how many times you trim it during its life cycle it will keep trying to produce new stems to make new leaves.


What do you do with all of the excess basil?!?

I have not personally ever frozen basil, so as such I will layout a general idea of what to do and point you to the right person to explain it better than I.

Freezing

Wash and Freeze, Blanch and Freeze, or Chop and Freeze. After a light washing and drying you can flash freeze your basil to store and use as you like. The Spruce Eats covers all 3 of these methods in greater detail and better finesse than I ever could.


Drying
Oven Dried Basil Leaves

There are two main ways to dry basil, the first being slower and more nature based. One way to dry basil is hang it up on a rack in a warm dry room to allow the leaves to reach crumbling texture in around a 2 week time period. Another method for drying the leaves is by using an oven at the lowest setting. I have used this method a few times with great success. It took 2-3 hours at the lowest setting but once they were done, the part of grinding them up was as simple as ever. As a way to make sure they were not burning I would open the oven every 45 minutes to toss the leaves and ensure none were stuck to the tray and burning. (Burnt basil doesn’t smell the greatest.)

If you are looking for a better harvest of basil the answer may be trimming.

Pre-drying basil

Again no matter if the basil is growing in the ground, in a pot, or in a raised bed garden it will benefit greatly from pruning/trimming. The amount of dishes that basil can be used in is extensive and only limited by what you think is normal.

If you are looking to expand your herb garden into your kitchen check out these products for some ideas.
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Definitely a wish list item, but hey I can dream.


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Keep mother nature alive and prospering, your own livelihood depends on it.

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Myers Greens LLC

Myers Greens is a nursery located in southwest Iowa. With the main goal of providing top quality microgreens and fresh herbs. Follow the blog to keep up to date on what we are growing.

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