Basil


Truth be told, this is my first truly successful year growing basil. I'm not sure why it has worked better this year than the past two years, but I will take it. Basil is a beautiful herb. It works well in many different dishes and has a wonderful minty cinnamon flavor. I love it in scrambled eggs or omelets combined with red bell peppers. Yummy. It is also the key ingredient in pesto, and making even a small batch of pesto requires a LOT of basil. So really, it is best to grow as much basil as possible.

Basil is a heat loving herb so it doesn't grow well any other season but summer. However, you can have some success growing it inside as long as there is enough light. Not the basil bush that you can get outdoors in the summer, but small leaves to throw in pasta. It combines very well with tomatoes and mozzarella cheese. Toss with some olive oil and you have a fabulous salad.

I don't usually bother with planting seeds indoors. I just go to the local Home Depot and buy a few basil plants once it is warm enough. Mid-June in Utah is really a good time to get basil in the ground. Keep it far enough away from stucco so that it doesn't get crispy.

Basil:
Growing Season -Summer
Seed to Harvest - 12 weeks
Indoor Seed Starting - 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost
Earliest Outdoor Planting - After soil has warmed
Harvest -
Pinch stems just above leaf nodes where new stems will sprout. Use only the leaves in cooking. The more you pinch off, the more it will grow.
Recommendations - Keep well-watered. For energetic, tasty plants, remove flower buds as they appear.
Problems - Aphids and Japanese beetles, Fusarium wilt. Weight gain from eating too much pasta.