Basil

rentalgardenMay 26, 2008

Folks tell me basil is about as easy as breathing. I have yet to see evidence that justifies that. My plants are wilting and dropping leaves. No browning or streaking, just yellow then fall off. Any hints? Do they just like it blazing hot, in which case Canada is kind of lacking right now?

The closest I can narrow it down to is overwatering in heavy soil, stifling growth. Should I lose the watering ambition and just let it dry out some?

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JudyWWW(z7/WA)

Basil likes heat. I don't even put my out until at least mid June. I think it's the cold. I think of basil as having average water needs. JudyWWW

    Bookmark   May 26, 2008 at 8:27PM
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kneewalker

My basil spot is full sun and fast draining. But they seem to be real picky about temperature - happy between 80 and 90 degrees. Over 90 they seem to melt; under 80 they just sulk. And slugs would crawl over a bed of hot coals to get at 'em.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2008 at 11:06PM
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caththegardener

Mine are looking a bit sad too now. I think it might just be to early for them. Mine usually goes crazy when it really warms up.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2008 at 1:09AM
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scarleta

Basil likes it hot.You may be over watering it also and keeping it even cooler by keeping it wet.I would let them dry a bit and don't worry about dropping leaves as yet.They are just letting you know something is wrong.When the weather improves they may just pick up and in no time will grow.When they do grow a bit taller just pinch the tops off so you will get more branches.Basil is easy but takes time to pick up.Mine are still in the pots and don't look happy at the moment.I know they will be ok after they get some heat.it

    Bookmark   May 28, 2008 at 1:19AM
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hemnancy(z8 PNW)

I like to keep them under lights as long as possible, especially the kinds with the small leaves and rounded forms.

Has anyone grown B. americanum or gratissimum?

    Bookmark   May 28, 2008 at 6:22AM
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kendal(8 PNW)

I bought this little herb green house kit came with basil, chives and parsley at Lowe's. I didn't plant parsley, but the other 2 I did and they are growing like crazy. They outgrew the top part of the green house pretty fast, but they are still sitting in my window sill that is facing south. They are in peat soil that came with the kit so it needs watering more then usual. It cost me $5 and I still have a lot of seeds left.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2008 at 4:35PM
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gardinator

They will go crazy when it heats up, and your problem will be fighting them bolting (putting out flowers, which stops them generating leaves). When they start to bolt, you have to be very assiduous at picking off the bolting stalks with the flowers on them. I raise basil mostly to make giant batches of pesto to freeze and give as gifts. Pesto freezes beautifully and lasts forever. The way I do it is that I grow a whole bunch of basil, and when I've got a good bunch of leaves and it wants to start bolting, I do a large-scale harvest, cutting the plant all the way down to just a few leaves. It takes a lot of basil to make pesto. I then make a big batch of pesto (get your garlic, olive oil and pine nuts at Costco and you'll save a lot of money). I put the pesto into little half-pint jars and freeze.
The basil will then grow back without bolting and you can repeat the process (I usually get about 3 major harvests every year)

    Bookmark   June 11, 2008 at 11:01PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

It's still too cold for basil. Plants offered for sale I have seen all have telltale pale yellow growing points at tops of stems, indicating they have been chilled. You often see the same thing on tomato plants at outlets, likewise frequently put out for sale too early - it's not usually hot enough for tropical plants like these until summer.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2008 at 12:07AM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

gardinator
would you post your recipe and instructions? I love pesto but have never made it. I have loads of freezer space and a food processor.

I love the flavor of basil but don't really know what to do with it other than chop it up and add to tomato based sauces.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 8:12PM
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JudyWWW(z7/WA)

Google basil pesto recipe and you will get a bunch....most include pinenuts (a few use walnuts), garlic, olive oil, and some add some parsley.

I had a huge amount of 2nd year Italian parsley I needed to use before it went to seed and I googled parsley pesto last weekend and found several good ones. I also used a lot of last year's garlic harvest before it went bad.

It's easy. jwww

    Bookmark   June 21, 2008 at 12:34AM
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