From Basil Trouble To Bounty

By Bonnie Grant | October 28, 2021
Image by ChiccoDodiFC
by Bonnie Grant
October 28, 2021

I have mentioned before how we accidentally poisoned our garden. It was from a carryover herbicide hiding in manure and hay. An innocent enough additive to juice up our garden soil, and we were unaware this was possible. So, we lost a lot of our initial plants. Basil is one of my favorite seasonings, and my little plants went the way of the dodo bird. However, all was not lost, as I planted more in pots and another area of the garden. Guess what? They thrived.

Growing Basil From Seed

I was super sickened and sad to watch all my little seedlings die in the garden. At first it was a mystery and I felt like I had a black thumb. Then, I chanced across a post detailing the same thing, combined with the same soil additives. Tada. We had our answer. So, we had to start all over with our plants, many of which we just planted their seed directly into the soil. My basil was one of the directly sown plants, and I held out little hope. It was mid-June after all. Surely nothing would come of this heat lover that needed around 60 days before you could harvest leaves. That would be mid-August and things start getting cold at night here, a thing my basil plants wouldn’t like. 

Surprise, surprise. The little basil seeds took off, both in the ground and in pots. I hedged my bets and decided to plant both ways just in case. We were harvesting basil by mid-July. The plants have become veritable bushes and are monsters that need to be pruned consistently. The freezer is full of pesto, and every one of my neighbors and friends has a start. One of the easier ways of growing basil is by rooting a cutting in a glass of water. In a week or two you will have roots, ready to plant in soil. It is ridiculously easy, and the plants are all good sized by now. 

Growing Basil Indoors

I have decided to try growing basil inside for the winter. One of the pots with basil seeds has now been moved indoors under a plant light to preserve and use fresh during our cold season. With luck, I can be harvesting basil leaves as needed all winter long. Outside, the plants are still going gang busters, so much so that we took nice little bundles to the food bank for others to enjoy. It really is too much to use at this point, but the flowering plants exude a delicious, spicy scent and the blooms themselves are a treat for the bees.

The big bust of the early summer has repaired itself. I even have little arrangements of basil flowers in a mixed bouquet sitting on my desk. They are a nice counterpoint for the other varieties of flowers, but the aroma is also a reminder that most things can and will be fixed eventually.

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