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Growing and Caring for Basil, Basil Varieties. Preparing and Preserving Basil.

Growing Basil

How to Grow Basil

Plant the seeds outdoors only when chances of frost are over and the ground is warm. Soil temperature should be 65-85 degrees F. In most areas it's a good idea get a head start on the season by starting seeds indoors 4 to 6 weeks before the last spring frost...

Starting Basil Mid Summer. Basil germinates in 6 to 14 days and reaches maturity in 55 to 75 Days so in most regions so long as you have another 70 to 75 days left before the first possible killer frost and you want some basil - go for it !

Hydroponic Basil Basil is fairly temperamental, it needs a warm sheltered environment. Assuming you're growing your hydro-Basil indoors, avoid excess drafts. You still want air circulation to facilitate transpiration and ward off fungi - just not excessive cool drafts. Keep an oscillating fan running gently a few hours daily to stimulate sturdier plant growth and facilitate transpiration.

Basil Varieties

Basil Varieties. There are over 50 varieties of Basil as well as some plants that are not true basil but are grown as such due to similar characteristics. Some varieties have a hint of citrus, while others have a cinnamon or a licorice-anise flavor. Some have purple leaves but most are green.


Companion Planting - Trouble Shooting

Companion Planting Basil and Tomatoes. Researchers at the University fo Florida created a GMO not long ago. They genetically engineered Tomatoes to contain a flavor gene from lemon basil. Volunteers were polled with standard tomatoes and the GMO as to which tomato tasted better. The GMO won, hands down. Some advocates of the tomato basil scenario have now claimed this as proof of the compatibility of tomatoes and basil in a companion planting scenario. Seriously ? Pass the Pesto please.

Basil Repels Flies One purported property of Basil is its ability to repel flies. Growing some basil indoors some say will keep those annoying flying adult maggots away. Outdoors planted in pots by your picnic and barbeque area it is said to keep the flies away from your Potato salad and hot dogs, they taste horrible when they drown in your punch bowl !

Basil Turns Yellow - Why ? Basil will yellow for several reasons, some are easily rectified and some are incurable depending on how far along in the growing season you've gotten.


Basil Mint Jelly. The taste of Basil is unique and there is nothing to really compare it to besides pesto and other Italian sauces. A Pesto Jelly sounds quite bizarre but when blended with a small amount of mint leaves and sugar such as in this recipe, the taste is titillating. Some have stated the amount of sugar makes it overly sweet, however the sugar to pectin ratio should be maintained in order for the Jelly to set properly. The jelly itself has very little coloration, so adding a few drops of green food coloring can't hurt.

Herbal Ice - Freezing herbs is a very economical and efficient way to preserve summers bounty. In some instances freezing leeches away some of the flavor and essential oils. One method of freezing herbs that works exceptionally well is freezing herbs in ice cubes. Herbs can be frozen individually or in conjunction with other herbs that will compliment one another's flavors. Basil is one of my favorites but the ice cube method also works well with chives, cilantro, fennel, lovage, mints, oregano and marjoram, parsley, rosemary, sage, tarragon and thyme.