IT’S BASIL TIME
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.