Saturday, July 6, 2013

Quick tips for maximizing basil harvests

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Basil is easy to grow and a few tips will give you lots of basil to put up for the winter.

Basil loves sunlight, 6-8 hours a day.  Basil loves nitrogen, which stimulates all leafy growth.  Water every other week with kelp fertilizer.

You should pinch back to get the plant to bush out.  Pinch above a leaf node.  The basil will grow new branches on each side.  Keep pinching as they grow until you have a full plant.  Once the plant starts to flower, the stems will become woody.  Pinching represses flowering.

About half way through the summer, cut basil back to the bottom 4 leaves.  They will regrow to give you a second harvest.

It is also not too late to plant basil right now either.

For preserving, the best bets are to blanche or make into pesto.  Basil looses its flavor when dried.  Blanching is dropping the herb into boiling water for about a minute, then dunking into ice water (or very cold water), dry on paper towels, then place on a cookie sheet in the freezer.  When frozen, put into freezer bags.  

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