When we think about Italian Food a key ingredient which always come to mind is Basil, gorgeous fresh basil, basil that ignites the taste buds and transports you to New York or Rome.
Basil is a difficult herb to grow, needing high temperatures, high light levels and neglect to do well.
‘Neglect’? Yeah, the part we find interesting and desirable about herbs is the oil they contain, and as such the more you tender and water to your herbs the better they grow, but the worse they taste….scrawny, dehydrated herbs have the best flavours…so when it comes to Basil plant it, feed it at the start and then let it be, let it mature and build flavour itself – without over tending to them.
by Gareth Austin
Growing Basil from seed is fairly straight forward: (a) fill some small pots with fine sieved compost which has some added Vermiculite (b) lightly sprinkle the basil seeds across the surface of the compost (c) lightly cover this with a fine layer of Vermiculite (d) stand the pots in a tray of water for an hour or two until wet through (e) place these pots in a warm location, such as a windowsill above a radiator or in a heated propagator (f) don’t water them again until the compost is starting to dry out.
Alternatively you can call into your local garden centre and buy some ready-to-grow plants which are suitable for potting up into larger pots, or dividing into smaller plants. Another option is to pick up a ‘ready-to-eat’ lad at the supermarket. When this has been chopped down as a result of you harvesting it, divide it up and pot them into smaller pots 3/5 plants into a pot.
Variety wise there’s an amazing range to choose from – ranging from the traditional sweet basil which is green leaves, to the silvery leaved Thai Basil to the red leaved Crimson King and all possess different taste notes, so not only can you grow amazing basil here in Donegal, you can also grow a range of great Basil varieties, all suitable for GreenHouse, Polytunnel and windowsill cultivation.
Visit your local garden centre and look at their bulging seed ranges for some quality basil seeds for you to start this week!Tags: