How I Harvest and Dry Outdoor Plants

1. Use a sharp knife or scissors to cut a single stemmed plant or individual branches from the plant. You should not do this in the morning when plants have morning dew on them. Give the branches a shake to get rid of any critters that are on them. Don’t forget to remove any dry or diseased leaves.

2. Take each branch and trim off the leaves. If you are using the leaves trim them over a colander and rinse them before drying. If you are going to dry the flowers, you can discard the leaves to the compost pile and keep the flowers on the main stem. I don’t rinse flowers with water; for the most part flower parts are more delicate and may be damaged and being thicker are more susceptible to mold.

3. I often use the bag method, where I place the plants in a brown paper bag in a room with good airflow. Check everyday, if you see any mold, take the plant out of the bag, throw away any moldy parts and put a fan blowing directly over the plants on a screen or newspaper to increase the rate of drying. I have never had mold in the bags, but it could happen if you have high humidity and mold spores as you harvest and process the plants.

Obviously each plant species will have tell tales of when the right time to harvest is. The best way to know when to harvest is experience. One thing is for sure, no plant should be picked before its time. How plants mature and when differs, some plants mature all at once while most indoor grown plants will flower/fruit from the top down. In other words some plants you should harvest all at once, others in pieces over time. If you don’t have an experienced grower to show you the ropes do it yourself and try different techniques.  I'd be happy to hear what works and what does not.

Good Growing,
Dr. E. R. Myers

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