It seems like the herb gardens (both my culitvated herbs and the wild ones we wildcraft) have recently exploded! This is one of my favourite times of the year - the season of gathering herbs that will be made into medicines (tinctures, salves, syrups, teas) for the winter months. Right now the lavender, arnica, red clover, lemon balm, catnip, motherwort, yarrow, mints, sage, thyme, comfrey, chamomile, feverfew, plantain, (not to mention all the culinary herbs like oregano, basil, savory, dill) are in their prime -- so we've been heading out with our collecting baskets each morning taking an hour or so to gather, bunch and hang dry these wonderful healing herbs.
I had a few questions about the recent red clover harvest blog post, so here are a few more general harvesting/drying tips: herbs need to be dried quickly, out of sunlight, and with proper air circulation; flowers should be picked when fully opened and fully dried from morning dew, then and stored in brown paper bags that are punched with air holes (paper bags will catch the herb blossoms that tend to fall off); other herbs can be tied into small bunches and hung dry in a cool place with good air circulation, out of direct sunlight (we use our greenhouse during the off season, as it dries herbs quickly - but we hang a tarp to block out sunlight from our drying area); finally, always label your herbs well before you hang them up to dry (herbs can look quite different when fully dried and you don't want to mix up your bunches!)...happy herb harvesting.