Basil

4 inch pots – $2.50    Quart $4.00  available summer 2017

Sweet Basil – Is one of the most popular herbs in home gardens, mainly due to its strong flavor – a favorite traditional herb for many Italian dishes.  An annual with a very neat, dense growth habit with attractive, gloss, bright green triangular leaves.  There are many different types of basil – all of which make effective additions to any garden.  I like to cut a small branch and bring inside to be placed in a vase of water.  The leaves emit a fresh licorice and pepper aroma and the shiny green leaves are attractive and add color to the kitchen.

Leaves can be harvested every week, pinching terminal buds first to encourage branching.  The ideal harvest time, when flavor is at its peak, is when flower buds are about to blossom.  Use fresh or hang-dry and store in airtight containers.  Best preserved chopped or frozen, or as pesto or in olive oil.

Basil has many uses such as a seasoning in sauces, stews, salads, fish, chicken, veal, lamb, tomatoes, and potatoes to name a few.  Dried leaves are often used in potpourris and sachets.  Fresh branches can be used in floral displays.  Basil also has cosmetics use value when used as a hair rinse and soaps.

Plant in full sun outdoors after all threat of frost has passed and the soil has warmed.   Plant near tomatoes and peppers to enhance their growth.  Sweet basil grows to a height of 18 inches and a spread of 10 inches and thrives in zones 4-10.  Sometimes known as St. Joseph’s Wart.

 

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