How to Harvest Summer Savory

There are many different kinds of savory, but summer savory, also known as Satureja hortensis, is favored for cooking because of its mild and unique taste, and is therefore more commonly grown. It is a hardy plant, and is easy to grow from seeds or seedlings. It is possible to grow during many seasons and climates, but it prefers full-sunlight and generous watering. Because of these preferences, late spring is the best time to plant in many climates. When harvesting, summer savory can be used fresh or dried, and whole, ground or minced.

Things You'll Need

  • Soil
  • Watering can or hose
  • Seeds
  • Light
  • Scissors
  • String or rubber bands
  • Plastic bags or jars

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Choose a garden location that receives several hours of sunlight per day, and make sure there are no more frosts predicted for the season. Summer savory does best when grown separate from other plants, with the exception of beans and onions, which it grows quite well with.

Place seeds about three inches apart on top of the soil. Using your index finger, push each seed about 1/2 inch into the soil, and brush only a tiny sprinkling of dirt over the holes. This type of seed requires sun to germinate, which will typically take one to two weeks.

Water your seedlings consistently, with a hose or watering can. Make sure the soil is always moist, but never let it get so wet that it's muddy. If plants grow too close together, uproot some of them in order to thin the plants to be spaced about six inches apart. Then let the remaining plants grow undisturbed for about six weeks.

Use scissors to clip leaves off at their base as needed, during an initial light harvest period. These early leaves can only be used fresh, whereas whole stems harvested later, can be dried if desired. The light harvest period will last about a month, and ends when the plant blossoms.

Using scissors, cut each stalk of the plant off at the ground before the first frost. Store stalks in jars to use fresh, or tie in bundles using string or rubber bands.

Hang bundles upside down in an area without direct sunlight. The drying process will take about seven to 10 days, or until the leaves lose all their moisture. When dry, remove bundles and store them in plastic bags or jars to retain flavor.

Tips & Warnings

  • Summer savory will grow better in well-drained soil. Summer savory can be used in place of pepper and thyme. If the stalks get floppy while growing, tie them to thin support sticks. Summer savory has many medicinal uses as well.
  • Overwatering will kill your plants. Any frost will kill your plants.


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