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Old June 5, 2009   #1
gssgarden
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Default Which of these Herbs should NOT go to seed??

I have a small Herb garden with the following:

Basil - 2 kinds
Cilantro
Dill
Parsley
Chives
Chervil
Oregano
and Mint

Is it ok for these to go to seed? Which ones should I be-head when I see the flower buds?

Thanks in advance,

Greg
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Old June 5, 2009   #2
aninocentangel
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Parsley probably won't go to seed unless this is the second year you've had the same plant. Oregano doesn't readily go to seed for me, it's perennial. The basil will readily cross, and not all crosses are a happy thing. Genovese x thai queen is . If you want to save seed from them I'd suggest only allowing one type to flower each year.
Otherwise I don't see any reason not to let the others go to seed. I use lost of dill and coriander (cilantro seed) in my cooking.
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Old June 5, 2009   #3
shelleybean
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I try to keep the blooms pinched off the basil unless I'm using that plant to attract bees to cucumbers or squash. Once the flowers get going, the plant puts the energy into that instead of the edible part of the plant. Cut them off chives too, but you can cook with those blossoms. Flowers on oregano are no problem. I don't ever recall seeing my mint bloom. Seeds from dill are used to make pickles. You can cook with the seed from cilantro, as stated above. I have not grown chervil so I can't answer that one. And as angel said above, your parsley shouldn't bloom until late winter/early spring next year, but when it does, the whole plant is done anyway.
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Old June 5, 2009   #4
gssgarden
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Angel, My parsley is a second year plant. I brought it in over the winter and had fresh parsley for months.

Shelley, That's just what I thought about the flowers, all the energy going to them.

Chives are FULL of flowers. ugh.

Basil - gets be-headed
Chives - ditto
Mint - no problem
Cilantro, Dill, Oregano - leave it alone
Chervil - Jury is out.

Thanks alot.

Greg
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Old June 5, 2009   #5
shelleybean
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Greg, I am really surprised your parsley is still chugging along. I've never brought mine indoors though so that might have something to do with it. I leave it on the patio all winter and usually in February, it starts to go to seed.

You may notice that the chives with blooms are tough and not really good to eat. I cut those off at the base of the plant and the new chives are nice and tender. But those little purple blossoms have a nice slight onion flavor. I just wouldn't eat the green part.
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Old June 5, 2009   #6
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I've been harvesting my oregano just as the stems start elongating, before it blooms. I read some years ago that the flavor is stronger before it blooms. It also keeps the mound tidier -- similar to cutting back perennials early to have better blooms later, as advocated in The Well-Tended Perennial Garden by Traci DiSabato-Aust. Without cutting back, the stems get too long (a consideration in my overplanted garden!) and flop into the garlic chives and yarrow. When I do cut them back (to just above the lowest node that has leaf buds), the stems stay more upright.

I like the little flavor buds on chives and garlic chives! A big burst of oniony flavor while I'm working in the garden.

I've had tons of parsley volunteers ever since I let one plant go to seed a couple years ago. I never plant it, and let it decide where to grow.
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Old June 5, 2009   #7
aninocentangel
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I do let my basil flower in the fall because I save the seeds and start them next year. Actually, I don't really need to save seeds since it will happily, and prolifically, reseed itself, as will the dill, cilantro, and parsley.
My mint is very prolific and does flower, the flowers aren't anything to write home about. It will cross with oregano (I've yet to see my oregano flower but it produced yucky tasting little minty looking babies last year) so I tend to keep the mint pinched back. Actually, that's not true, I tear them out in great big vicious yanks. Good for stress relief and I think it likes the rough treatment.
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Last edited by aninocentangel; June 5, 2009 at 08:36 PM. Reason: spelling :)
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Old June 6, 2009   #8
Blueaussi
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If you want dill weed and cilantro leaves, don't let them bloom. Around here, I try and grow dill as a spring and fall plant for the herb. Once it gets hot, it's determined to bolt and go straight to seed.
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Old June 6, 2009   #9
aninocentangel
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Blueaussi, do you use seed saved in the spring for the fall planting?
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Old June 7, 2009   #10
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Sometimes, sometimes I use them up before fall. Dill seed is pretty easy to come by, so I don't worry about not having plenty to hand.
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Old June 7, 2009   #11
aninocentangel
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Thanks. I was thinking about doing that myself, but wasn't sure if they needed to, I don't know, cure? or something.
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