Growing Herbs in Texas: Harvesting Parsley and Basil

| 6/18/2010 12:46:31 PM


Cynthia Meredith has been gardening with herbs, reading about herbs, and discussing herb gardening in Texas for more than 20 years. She has owned The Herb Cottage ( for over 10 years, selling herb plants to people all over our state.

As spring morphs into summer, mornings are very special in the herb garden. The air is so soft, humid and even a little bit cool ... as cool as it is going to be for the day. The Texas heat has set in. The gardens, and the gardener, look best in the early morning before the heat and humidity rise during the afternoon to the mid 90s. After a cool spring and a colder than usual winter, it's taking me some time to get used to summer temperatures. The herb gardens, however, are taking it all in stride.

6-18-2010-1Even the onslaught of the grasshopper hoards who are visiting us this year barely dampen the spirits of the plants. With the grasshoppers (to right) are munching on everything in sight, the herbs are the least bothered by the little critters.

Oh, yes, they're having their fun with the parsley, too, sharing what's left of the plants still to be harvested for seed with the swallowtail larvae. I've already harvested some seed from the parsley, and more is ready to cut. When saving seed from your own plants, it's important not to harvest the seed too early. If the seed is not fully mature, germination will be poor or non-existent. I'm anxious, though, to finish the harvest and pull the plants.

Not only is it nearly impossible to get through the path next to the bed, but I'd like that space to plant some more basil.