How to Cultivate and Harvest Chamomile
One of the most natural herbs to grow is Chamomiles. They are among the herbs who self-seeds every year and fortunately, they also act as hosts for insects that are beneficial.
Since it is one of their nature to self-cultivate themselves, this can be a problem since they tend to grow liberally everywhere which makes it a task for you to keep them taken care of and well-maintained.
Varieties of Chamomile
For centuries, Chamomile is an ancient herb that is used for medicinal and culinary use. Its existence can be traced back to Ancient Egypt. Its great aroma is even utilized in other cultures – they are thrown on floors for it gives off an aroma when it is being stepped on.
There are two common varieties of Chamomile: Roman and German Chamomile. Roman chamomile is perennials that grow from the range of 3-6” and usually spreads. German chamomile, on the other hand, leans on cool weathers and is an annual plant that grows to almost 36” tall. Both variety experience almost no pesticidal severe problems.
According to researchers, the medical uses of Chamomile include inflammation, menstrual disorders, muscle spasms, hay fever, insomnia, ulcers, rheumatic pain, infections, and other illnesses.
Some insects can damage your garden. However, there are also insects that can help and are helpful for you such as flies, beetles, and other species. Chamomile is proven to host lady beetles, hoverflies, and parasitic wasps. These insects consume other harmful pests which would give you an easier time when having to deal with pesticidal problems.
You can grow chamomile from seeds or starter plants. You can plant it in well-drained soils. You can either place them under full sun or part shade. However, they grow best when situated under full sun. It is advised that you use soil that is a bit dry since it slowly grows when you place it in a wet environment. In growing season, they usually spread by creeping steps that would eventually root while increasing. Hence, they reproduce and plant themselves.
You can harvest chamomile whenever its flower petals have already turned white, and its center is bright yellow. Late evening or early morning are ideally the best time to collect them since the oils in the blooms are more likely to be concentrated if the weather is cold. Also, it is best for you to harvest them at least two days after rain for chamomiles tend to hold onto moisture for a while.
There are available chamomile rakes that can help you in harvesting them since German and Roman chamomile are usually a hard task to do. However, they can be expensive, and it usually takes up more of your time if compared to the traditional and manual way of harvesting.
When you have finally harvested them, don’t wash them with water because this will damage the herb, risking it to be soaked which would give you another hard time to dry it quickly. If it the harvested plant is inhabited by insects, you can have them sit outdoors in a shady area.
Drying And Storing Them
You can dry the chamomile flowers in a shortened shopping bag for one to two weeks. If you want to check if the flowers have correctly dried, you can check if they have crumbled into powered or if they are dry when you rub them with your hands. After that, you can store them in a clean tin.