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Growing Basil

 
Posts: 107
Location: Tunisia
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One of my favorite things about growing basil is that there are so many different varieties differing in the size, shape, odour and colour of the leaves. The Common Basil has very dark green leaves, the curled-leaved has short spikes of flowers, the narrow-leaved smells like Fennel, another has a scent of citron and another a tarragon scent, one species has leaves of three colours, and another 'studded' leaves.
I grow several different types of basil, and try new ones each year! Red more about growing basil successfully: How to Grow Basil
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Just sprouted my 17th Basil variety. I'm hooked on the stuff πŸ’š
 
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I heard that if you pinch off the tops they would get bushy, so I tried it. They didn't really get bushy, but they did get tall. They topped out a little over 3 feet and were giving my determinate tomatoes a run for their money.

Chokri, most of my plants have now fallen over. They are still green, but I don't think they like the cold. We have not had a frost yet, but it has been down to 39F. Any idea if the plants would still be ok to use for dried basil?
 
Chokri Hizem
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Basil is a tropical herb, and the plants need sun and heat to thrive. But now it's fall and the temperature is changing, basil plants will die because of the cold. You can harvest the healthiest leaves and the seeds to plant next growing season!
Here in Tunisia i still have nice growing basil plants, and the strongest plants will survive until next spring! Tunisia have a typical Mediterranean climate, with hot, dry summers and mild, occasionally rainy winters.
Happy gardening!
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I love basil. I truly believe it helps keep the bad bugs off the veggies.
I read it's good at repelling mosquitoes. I always wonder about the plants that are supposed to repelle mosquitoes, because I have most of them, and still am often over run by them.  One evening I was being eaten alive, trying to get some stuff done after work, and noticed while I was cutting back a basil that was taking over that the mosquitos stopped bothering me. How about that.  It actually works. Now when they are bugging me I grab a handful of basil and rub it on myself.  No it's not as good as repellent, but it's pretty affective, smells wonderful, no chemicals or cost. Just another reason to love basil.
 
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It's going to freeze in my southern-USA location for the first time tonight! Just snipped my two basil plants and brought them in.

So, now I have to process the harvest. Other than drying  it for decor I have no clue what to do to preserve basil. Any ideas?
 
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Rachel Lindsay wrote:It's going to freeze in my southern-USA location for the first time tonight! Just snipped my two basil plants and brought them in.

So, now I have to process the harvest. Other than drying for decor it I have no clue what to do to preserve basil. Any ideas?



You can blend it with a little oil or water and freeze it, either in ice cube trays or spread out flat and then break off pieces as needed.  I do herb blends too, kind of a salsa verde or chimichurri base with whatever combo of herbs I'm wanting to save. It will also infuse oil or vinegar so you have the flavor of the basil after the plants have given their all (also works for alcohol if you're into that kind of thing). Also, pesto, with or without the cheese freezes well.
 
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I love how there are so many different variations of basil, in color, flavor, size, and leaf shape.

I love lemon and lime basil. I though that they would be too similar to tell apart but they have very distinctive scents. Lime smells exactly like lime and lemon smells like lemon.

I tried growing lettuce leaf basil but the bugs loved it plus it was too strong a flavor for me to use like a lettuce wrap which is what I wanted to try. But for cooking it was good

I have cinnamon basil to try next year. I hope some more people add to this thread with more varieties to try.
 
Mercy Pergande
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We had African blue basil (Ocimum kilimandscharicum Γ— basilicum 'Dark Opal') in our garden primarily as a pollinator attractor. It was amazing, the plants were always humming and vibrating with bees. (and our garden was extremely productive). They are a sterile cross variety that propagates via cuttings so it will bloom prolifically and never go to seed. Very fragrant in the "spicy/clove" category of basil flavors and it looks beautiful in cut flower arrangements. I know it has other uses and is grown for oil, but as I said it was primarily a pollinator plant in our NorCal garden. I think it would make a great addition to a scent garden.

 
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Rachel said, "Other than drying  it for decor I have no clue what to do to preserve basil. Any ideas?



Basil is one of my favorite cooking spices.

Put some sprigs in oil or vinegar for basil-flavored oil or vinegar.

Make a tea for helping the kidney and a detox.  Basil is also an anti-inflammatory.
 
Jen Fulkerson
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To preserve basil you can also pick it in bunches and tie some twine around the stem and let it air dry.

This year I tried lettuce leaf basil and Thai basil. Both grew very well.  My son liked the mild basil flavor of the lettuce leaf basil and I love the beauty of the Thai basil.  I'm not using my basil in cooking as much as I would like, so I need to improve. At this point I mostly use it to deter pests in the veggie garden.

Next year I would like to try holy basil.  It sound like a truly wonderful herb.
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Thai basil
 
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Rachel Lindsay wrote:It's going to freeze in my southern-USA location for the first time tonight! Just snipped my two basil plants and brought them in.

So, now I have to process the harvest. Other than drying  it for decor I have no clue what to do to preserve basil. Any ideas?



A couple of times when I've had an abundance at the end of the year (which can be pretty late here in Texas), I make it all up into pesto and freeze it in small containers. Then when I want to use it, I just take it out of the freezer in the morning and it's ready to put on my pasta for dinner.
 
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i have 3 types this year, genovese, emily, and sweet basil.

i typically plant in between all my tomato plants and have a bunch in 1 gallon pots. i pull all the leaves off and dry whole. i like the dried whole leaves because when i grind them in my mortar and pestle i get that sweet basil aroma. what i don't dry we turn into pesto, freeze in flattened sandwich bags or ice cube trays and then transfer to freezer bags.

i think this year i may spread them out around the garden as well as amongst my tomatoes.

another thing i am going to try, is find a spot and throw down a bunch of seeds, hope they germinate, and just leave them and see what, if anything, comes up next year.

should be fun
 
Posts: 64
Location: Willamette Valley, Oregon
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This caught my eye big time because I have not had success growing basil at all. After reading everyone's glowing remarks, I went back and clicked on the original poster's link: How to Grow Basil. As I am reading it, I come across this quote: "Basil is one of the easiest and most satisfying herbs to grow, for both beginning and experienced gardeners." Reading this increased my anguish.

I think my biggest problem is pests... specifically, slugs... something western Oregon is famous for. Basil has been a slug magnet for me. This year, I bought new seeds, planted them, sprouted them on my heated table in the greenhouse, then, when they were up a bit, I put them on the ground with several other young plants. The next I new, the basil was eaten and nothing else was touched.

I planted another batch and then transplanted into slightly larger pots, but left them on the table. They failed to grow. They just sat there.

Now for the good news. I read everything and realized that the little pots I put them in were not draining well and  it says basil likes well drained soil. I transplanted all my baby basil into very well drained soil and now they look like they might be taking off. Too soon to tell for sure, but I am optimistic. In only two days, they are twice as tall as they were.

Now... to keep the slugs away....
 
Jen Fulkerson
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John I know this may sound strange, but I was having a similar problem with my bok choy. When it was small. I cut a plastic cup about 2" from the top. I put the plastic collar around the young plant. For some reason this worked. The one with the collar was the only one not munched by ?? I thought maybe slugs because it was winter and we were getting an amazing amount of rain.
I've also read put a board down by your affected plants.  In the morning you can turn it over, and find the slugs.  If you do it several mornings in a row you should be able to greatly reduced the slug population.
Don't be discharged, or think it's you.  There's so many variables when it comes to gardening. Part of the job is being a detective. Talk to people in your area. See what they do.
I was dealing with this kind of thing this morning. I work for a Co-op that has a nursery. I was telling the customer to give a plant afternoon shade. But it says full sun. Yes it does, but in our area it can't handle the direct sun and heat in the late afternoon. This lady was adamant it says full sun, so it will be fine. Maybe she's right and the plant will be fine. I would bet she tries to bring the plant back because it's fried in the afternoon sun. Time will tell.
Maybe try a couple kinds of basil in a few different locations. Maybe put one in a pot and put it on a window sill in the house.  Keep trying. Sooner or later you will find the key to growing basil in your neck of the woods. It will taste even better knowing the effort it took to grow.
Good luck
 
Jon Sousa
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Location: Willamette Valley, Oregon
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Thanks for the encouragement Jen. I've been fighting slugs for a LONG time. Some more things that work: hunting for them with a flashlight an hour or so past dark, leaving plastic down on the ground and checking it in the morning, putting out beer bait, etc. The best bait I have ever used is a flower stalk from an onion or garlic, cut in half and put inside down along the ground.

Meanwhile, another couple of my basil have been eaten by slugs. Erg...
 
Jen Fulkerson
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I've learned this year I need to plant a lot of basil.  I started a few from seed this year.  They looked healthy enough, but just didn't get bigger.  
One day I noticed my daughter with a bunch of greens from the garden she was adding to the food she was making.  I noticed basil. Come to find out she has been picking leaves off since before I even planted it.. I'm glad she is eating what I planted, but it's only a baby!  I asked her to wait a little bit to let it get established. I also picked up a couple more plants at the nursery.  Bring on the basil.
 
Jon Sousa
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"Where there's a will, there's a way."

Many moons ago, a old pioneer here in Oregon gave me another word of encouragement: "Don't let them win." He was talking about the deer who were eating my garden. He told me, "If you have to put electric fence everywhere, you do what you have to do, but you don't let them win."

I put a double electric fence around my cabbage and broccoli patch (a deer favorite), 3 feet apart, and then crisscrossed the patch every witch way with wire. They couldn't touch it.

Today's basil menace (as mentioned above) is the dreaded slug that seems to LOVE my basil. "Don't let them win." I finally found a solution that works. I planted my basil in large pots, including an old camping ice box. I then wrapped bare copper wire around each pot close to the top. A circle of copper wire will carry a very small millivolt current, and the slugs and snails can feel it. They will not cross the line.

I just harvested my first batch of delicious basil, which I am dehydrating to chop up for future culinary use. Also in the dehydrator is a large harvest of sage getting ready for the same purpose.  Hopefully I will post a photo of my slug proof pots soon.

There is another reason I am winning the slug wars right now. Malachi 3:11 says, "And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes,
so that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground." I've been praying over my garden and asking God to rebuke the devourer.  God answers prayer... perhaps by reminding me that a circle of copper wire can do wonders.  This year I am also experiencing the best lettuce harvest ever (another slug favorite).
slug-proof-pots.jpg
I planted my basil in large pots
I planted my basil in large pots
 
Posts: 90
Location: Ossineke, MI
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Years ago I grew a sort of Holy Basil that was the most exceptional type I've ever grown: dull light green, narrow leaves, with a taste almost exactly like 'Fruit Stripe Gum'. If I remember correctly the company they came from was Horizon seeds, but I ordered the same thing again a few years later and it was an entirely different sort of plant that grew. Anyone else familiar with this fruit stripe gum variety? I would love to get ahold of it again.
 
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