With purse strings becoming tighter and the opportunity to dine out becoming a treat, why not add a bit of zing to some home cooked food by growing basil in your kitchen or garden. Whether you prefer sweet Blue Spice basil or the more familiar Basil Bush, traditionally used in Italian cuisine these versatile herbs can be the home grown answer to tantalize any taste buds and warm up the dullest of weekends. A perfect companion to any Bolognese basil can also be added to freshen up a home made cocktail on a summer’s day. Not only do such herbs taste better fresh they can also have a soothing effect on the stomach, aiding digestion.
In order to enjoy the herb’s full potential, plant basil in March and use it at its best between May and September. Use small pots containing equal amounts of perlite, vermiculite and peat. Dampen the soil and drop two to three seeds into each pot. Sprinkle with soil and using a transparent cover, leave the tray in a warm, sunny spot. Once the seedlings emerge remove the cover and water lightly every day. Basil can be transferred into the garden but it is best to wait until the summer months and to choose a spot well exposed to plenty of sunlight. Be mindful to remove any flowers which may appear from too much sun. The blooms cause a hormone change in the herb and significantly reduce the flavour of the leaves. Once the stalk reaches a reasonable height the herb is ready to be pruned. Carefully remove the top two leaves, avoiding any damage to smaller leaves below. With cultivation a success and fresh herbs at your finger tips the only thing left to do is indulge your culinary skills.
Nicky’s Basil Seeds for a full range of seeds