IT’S BASIL TIME

The Bay Chronicle - - BACKYARD BANTER -

Heat-lov­ing basil needs tem­per­a­tures of around 20°C to ger­mi­nate. Sow seed in trays and trans­plant when the seedlings are at least 5cm high. Or pick up seedlings at the gar­den cen­tre. I love pesto so I’ve planted large­leaved ‘Sweet Gen­ovese’ from Awa­puni Nurs­eries. I start har­vest­ing by pinch­ing out the top leaves of each stem as soon as the plants are estab­lished. This en­cour­ages bushy plants, ex­tra leaves and de­lays flow­er­ing. Don’t pick be­low the bot­tom set of leaves on a stem as it won’t re­sprout. Awa­puni Nurs­eries’ bun­dle of mixed basil va­ri­eties I’m grow­ing in a more dec­o­ra­tive way. Small leafed ‘Greek Mini’ is very cute in con­tain­ers. Pur­ple­leafed ‘Red Ru­bin’, pur­ple­flow­ered ‘Thai’ and ‘Cin­na­mon’ basil and white-flow­ered ‘Lemon’ basil are planted along­side dahlias in the flower bor­der. I let these plants ramp away and don’t dead­head them. They flower pro­lif­i­cally and are mag­nets for bees. Brush­ing against the leaves re­leases a won­der­ful scent too.

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