Monday, August 27, 2012

Basil

I kind of overdid it on the basil this year.   Last year I only planted one row and it didn't do great.  This year I planted three and it turns out that basil loved the heat and the daily watering.   I have loads of basil.

Loads, I tell you.

This is a pic of our second picking, but we've done one more since.   I expect at least one more before frost.    That's a seven gallon tote that it's in.   That's a lot of basil.

There will be plenty of pesto in the freezer this year.   Here's a link to how I make the pesto.

In the tote there, I have Italian Sweet Basil, and Opal Basil and some Thai Lemon Basil.     It's easy to find seeds for those at your local hardware type store.  

This year, since I planted basil all over the place, I learned a few more things about what it likes.  
  • Basil likes heat and wet and well drained.   It loves very sandy soil.  
  • If you direct sow the seeds, then make sure to water them every day to keep them damp until they sprout.    It's true.   If you don't water them, they probably won't sprout and if they do sprout, then it'll take a couple of weeks or more before you see them.   If you do water them every day, then they come up in just a few days.  [Note, this is only true if you have very well drained soil.  If you have heavy wet soil, then the rules are completely different.  My advice is to dig a lot of sand in.]
  • Basil much prefers soil that has some manure in it.    The leaves and plants are much bigger in the beds where I turned in some manure this year.  
  • Don't bother planting basil early in the season.   It turns brown if the temp gets below 40 and then it will be forever stunted.  For. Ever.   Wait until the middle of June to plant it and you'll still have plenty of time to make loads of pesto all season.   I planted the last batch of seeds at the beginning of July and I'll still get three harvests.
  • When I cut the basil, I cut it just above the bottom sets of leaves. After it's cut, the plant will branch off at the base of those leaves and produce another nice harvest for you. 


4 comments:

  1. Pesto is the way to can sunshine and spring for winter! Just reading about it makes me smile outloud!!! :-)

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    1. That's how I feel! Eric made a chicken stew with pattypan squash, coconut milk and a couple of lemon pickles. It was fabulous with a big spoonful of pesto in each serving. Yum.

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  2. That sounds like an aaaaaamazing stew! Wow!

    And thank you very much for these basil notes. I had great success one year, not so much the next. And I'd love to grow it indoors. But if it needs heat then it won't do so well, yeah? Have you ever grown it indoors? Brought it inside for winter?

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  3. Our basil, like most things this year (except for all sorts of squashes), didn't do as well. We usually freeze 20-30 pint jars of pesto, but have only done 7 this year. Hubby used to make it with just Italian basil, but I don't let him get away with making it without Thai lemon or lime basil anymore. The Thai basil makes the stuff so much more complex in flavor!

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