Are you growing lemon grass in Illinois, but don’t know when the best time to harvest them is?
Harvesting lemon grass is not as easy as it seems.
- Lemon Grass have a very short window when they can be harvested and still taste great.
So if you harvest them too early they may not be ready and taste bad. And if you harvest them too late they may become infected with mold, fungus, insects, etc., and become inedible.
Today, I’m going to teach you the ideal time to harvest lemon grass in Illinois:
- To Learn More About HOW to Grow Lemon Grass, Check Out This GUIDE!
When Do I Harvest Lemon Grass in Illinois?
As you may have already guessed, there are two main factors that determine when you should harvest your lemon grass: the physical features of the lemon grass & weather (time).
Harvest Lemon Grass if They Look Like This!!!
The physical features of lemon grass are what most gardeners commonly rely on to determine if they are ready to be picked off the plant or not.
In general, you should harvest lemon grass if they have the following physical features:
- The entire lemon grass is a solid red color. If the lemon grass is a lighter shade of red, it is not ready to be harvested
- The lemon grass is slightly soft. Too hard means it is not ready. Too soft means it is overripe (but still edible)
- Easily able to be deattached from the the plant. This means it has absorbed all the nutrients it needs and is ready.
Harvest Your Lemon Grass During THIS Time of Year!!!
In general, you should harvest lemon grass:
- 65 to 85 days after starting lemon grass from seed
- 40 to 50 days after planting lemon grass in your garden
- 20 to 30 days after lemon grass first appear
And no matter what, you should ALWAYS harvest your lemon grass before the first frost of the year. Frost will immediately kill your lemon grass plant and make your lemon grass inedible.
For your reference, I have created this table for average frost dates for most major cities in Illinois. If your city is not listed below you can find its Last & First Frost Dates HERE.
Illinois Last & First Frost Dates
It should be noted that you should not overly rely on the first frost of the year. The average first frost of the year is only correct 30% of the time.
Instead, pay close attention to your local weather.
When you know a frost is coming you need to take action.
- If lemon grass are in pots, bring them inside
- If lemon grass are in the ground, cover them in burlap and hope they survive
- Pick all lemon grass. If they are not ready, place them in a brown paper bag and store them for approximately 1 to 2 weeks to see if they become edible.
If you want to learn WHEN to harvest ANY Vegetable in Illinois, head over to HERE and just type in the vegetable you want to grow.