June 19, 2012

Basil-Growing Tips

Really, there are few tastes and fragrances that remind me more of summertime than basil. I absolutely love to cook with basil, and it is a staple in our herb garden each and every year. Today I thought I would share a few of the things I have learned over the course of the last few years regarding basil to help you make the most of the plants you already have, or possibly to inspire you to head out to buy some basil plants of your own!
Tip 1: Basil is a great option for container gardens.
I recommend dedicating one medium or large pot solely to your basil plants. Three to four plants per container is generally what I strive for, and I have found this yields more than enough basil for all of my culinary needs.
Tip 2: Trim off any blooms on your plants.
Allowing your plants to bloom will reduce the amount of lush, green growth as the plant shifts from growing mode into seed-producing mode. The basil leaves from blooming plants tend to have a more bitter, less pleasant flavor. To remove the blooms, simply cut away the flowers with garden scissors or pinch them off by hand. Don’t be hesitant to cut off quite a bit of the foliage as you work: pruning will actually encourage the plant to grow even fuller!
Tip 3: Harvest leaves in the morning.
The best time to harvest is in the morning, before the heat of the day. Even with ample watering, leaves will wither somewhat in the summer sun, so harvesting them when they are fresh in the morning will yield the best flavor and the lushest foliage. To keep the basil fresh until I plan to cook with it in the evening, I harvest what I need and then place the cuttings in a water-filled container in the fridge. It makes my refrigerator smell heavenly all day long!

 Do you grow basil each year? What are some of your favorite basil recipes?
Thanks so much for stopping by!


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9 Responses to Basil-Growing Tips

  1. Tara @ Tales of a Trophy Wife June 19, 2012 at 12:00 pm #

    Thanks for the tips. I have some Basil in my garden, but I am a garden newbie.

  2. breida with a b. June 19, 2012 at 2:44 pm #

    my best tip for growing basil is to grow LOTS of it! and make tons of PESTO which can be frozen and enjoyed ALL YEAR!

  3. Jayme June 19, 2012 at 2:58 pm #

    My basil leaves have recently become the snack for bugs in the area. Lots of bitty holes in them. Any suggestions for keeping them away and letting me have the basil all to myself?

  4. Lori June 19, 2012 at 3:33 pm #

    I love basil! I keep my plant indoors because of all the critters, and luckily it’s been fine in the garden window, so far!

  5. You inspired me to plant basil at the base of my patio tomato plant, there is a TON of room and I was going to plant flowers, but Herbs will be so much better! I am so excited!

  6. Dawn June 19, 2012 at 4:32 pm #

    Garden tomatoes sliced with fresh basil and covered in balsamic vinegar.

    My Mom plants marigolds in between each herb to deter pests.

  7. Amber June 20, 2012 at 2:51 pm #

    Do you start with plants or seeds? Is it too late fore me to start with seeds?

  8. Melissa June 26, 2012 at 7:36 pm #

    Hey hey! Just stoppin’ in from Honey Bear Lane. I think we’d be friends just FYI. I like your style!

    I adore basil and am such a sucker for classic bruschetta. Love that stuff and sometimes we eat just that for dinner. Mmmmm.

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