Herbs doing too well

How do I prune or deadhead? Herbs
I planted sage, thyme, parsley, basil, mint, oregano.
And hardly ever use them!! By the time I remember, I'm through with the tomato sandwich, e.g.
How much can I, should I, prune to stop these herbs from roaring away?
I don't want them to go to seed, so will offer some to neighbors, but it's hard to coordinate schedules.
Your advice appreciated.
Hypatia
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Higgs Boson wrote:

I just let mine go to seed, the bees love 'em.
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On Fri, 11 Sep 2009 13:11:09 -0700 (PDT), Higgs Boson

Google is your friend -- search for each herb by name with such terms as "harvesting sage/thyme/etc," "storing sage/thyme/etc." . . .
I used scrap 1X2 lumber and window screen to build several 2 X 4 ft drying racks.
Wife uses the drying racks to dry apples -- she slices the apples, spreads the slices on the screens, then we suspend the racks from the ceiling joists in the garden shed for several days until the apples are dried. We use the dried apples in the winter for pies.
Use the same racks to dry herbs.
-- Sage, thyme, oregano, and basil: Cut a bunch of each then strip the green leaves off the stems onto the drying screens. Hang the screens in the storage shed ceiling or another warm, dry place. After 2-3 weeks, use a small blade-type coffee grinder to grind the dried leaves -- store in dark-coloerd glass bottles and use in cooking.
-- Parsley and basil: Cut stems with the leaves on. Wash, pat dry, stuff into freezer bags, freeze. When you need parsley or basil in a recipe, pull out what ever amount you need and chop/grind/mince while it's still frozen.
-- mint: Make mint juleps.
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Thanks, folks, for those handy suggestions.
But I still need an answer to pruning/deadheading plants, rather than drying them.
TIA
Hypatia
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Higgs Boson wrote:

It isn't important, most people just let them go.
David
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On Sat, 12 Sep 2009 08:33:43 +1000, "David Hare-Scott"

Although depending on your location and if the plants are in the ground or in pots, oregano can be invasive, along with mint.
Kate in TN
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snipped-for-privacy@notme.com wrote:

If they escape mow them and you SHOULD inhale.
David
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On Sun, 13 Sep 2009 09:24:43 +1000, "David Hare-Scott"

Doesn't much matter with perennial herbs, with those the flowers are edible. Only your basil (an annual) needs deadheading, pinch off those flowers but they are very edible too. Your perenials will come back each year. Parsley is a bienniel, but will be too bitter for culinary use its second year. You really shouldn't be thinking about drying, since you are growing your own plants it's best if you freeze them.
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Any special tips on freezing herbs effectively? I've heard some folks get them wet first.
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On Fri, 11 Sep 2009 15:18:09 -0700 (PDT), Higgs Boson

I cut my herbs throughout the growing season either for immediate use or for drying. So, I guess you could say that I prune and deadhead mine all the time.
On the other hand, I went through two growing seasons a few years ago when I was too busy to spend much time on the garden and pretty much let the herbs go. Didn't seem to hurt them.
Herbs generally don't take much fussing over -- they tolerate a wide range of conditions that would be neglect for other plants.
Prune/deadhead them if you have time, if not, don't worry about it.
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On 9/11/2009 1:11 PM, Higgs Boson wrote:

I have all of these (except parsley) and more (sweet bay, rosemary, tarragon, dill). The rosemary is in the ground; it's about 30 years old and taller than I am. All the others are in 12-inch flower pots.
Basil and dill are annuals. They will die with the first frost if not before. There is no point in trimming them. My dill is long gone while we still have temperatures in the 90s and 100s, but I harvested a good crop. Even if you don't use it, pick the flower buds from the basil. It will prolong its life. Also the buds tend to be bitter and detract from the flavor of the leaves.
Parsley is a biennial. It dies at the end of its second year. Other than that, I know nothing about it.
Sage can be trimmed, but be very careful. You must leave new shoots already growing below each cut. Otherwise the cut stem will die back to its base.
I groom my thyme to keep it looking nice. But it doesn't really require trimming.
I trim the mint to keep it from reaching the ground. Mint can be very invasive.
I shear the flower buds from the oregano. Otherwise, it will drop seeds. Oregano is almost as invasive as mint.
The tarragon dies down each winter. Then I cut away all the dead growth. In the late winter or early spring, it resprouts from the roots.
In the ground, sweet bay can become a large shrub or a small tree. With it growing in a flower pot, I constantly trim it so that it does not outgrow the ability of its confined roots to keep it alive. I try to remove old growth and keep new shoots. In a nearby public garden, three sweet bay growing in the ground are sheared into formal cylinders.
Rosemary has the same pruning problem as sage: If you don't leave green growth below the cut, the branch will die. Because the branches on my rosemary are beautifully twisted and gnarled, I remove lower growth to expose the branches.
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David E. Ross
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    Is this Laurus nobilis, AKA "Bay Laurel", the culinary "bay leaf"? I ask because here in FL, AWA other Gulf coast states, we have a wetlands dweller commonly known as "sweet bay" that is a variety of Magnolia. I have a container-grown L. nobilis specimen that is just ending its first full season in this locale, USDA zone 9b and humid. I overwintered it indoors last year because, well, it was just a baby, you know; do you know whether that's necessary? What are the lowest temps to which yours are exposed?
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On 9/11/2009 7:36 PM, Balvenieman wrote:

Yes, I meant Laurus nobilis. It should be hardy to 28F.
Your sweet bay magnolia is Magnolia virginiana (aka M. glauca).
This is why plants sold in inter-state commerce are supposed to be labeled with their botanical names.
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Balvenieman wrote:

I have a ten-year old L. nobilis growing in my herb garden that is about five-feet tall. I live in SW Louisiana, USDA zone 9a. It has not frozen back yet.
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On Fri, 11 Sep 2009 13:11:09 -0700 (PDT), Higgs Boson

You can prune most of these at anytime, although if looking well I'd leave them alone. Of those mentioned I only prune the mint. Basil dies at first frost, parsely bolts to seed the second year. Maybe you need to plant herbs closer to the kitchen or pots on the patio/deck so you use them more.
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