In this very fickle weather, herb harvesting has been a real challenge. Under ideal circumstances, harvesting is done on a sunny day--hopefully at least one day AFTER a rain, before noon. Can't remember too many days like that this year! For my medicinal herbs--I always pick under those conditions, but for foods or crafts, I will be a bit more lenient. This coming week promises to be perfect, so all my energy will be in harvesting, drying, tincturing, oils and vinegars--where I literally pick and take plants to my drying shed porch, process them however they are to be used, within minutes.
My grandson has become my herb bundle labeler and hanger upper. "Many hands make quick work", my grandma used to say! This year, my biggest harvest has been of red clover. Years since my last sizable stand of clover, this year I have a huge, rich patch of it, which has yielded almost 3 gallons of blossoms---so far! I recall several years ago we had a long, warm Fall and a second harvest of red clover. Lots of people were very excited--but wait!!!! Reports started coming in of horses dying on pasture and it was later discovered that the second harvests of most red clover harbor a specific mold. Needless to say, though my clover isn't used for horses, mold--of any kind is not a good idea for medicinal/edible plants. It also illustrates what I try to teach my students--and is actually a practice for life, in general---For everything there is a season and everything in it's time. This early spring has been and I suspect will continue to be, devastating to plant culture this year. Multiple harvests may seem like a boon, but maybe our greed and or blissed out attitudes are not in keeping with respecting nature and her cycles. Those of us blessed enough to be able to work with plants and/or have land to steward, should merrily harvest each plant in it's season and watch and learn, so we may also harvest nature's wisdom.