Friday, May 27, 2011

Basil Not Happy

If you planted your herbs like I did around Mothers Day and you’re not in Rome or Florida you may be looking at some VERY unhappy basil. Don’t worry blame mother nature. Everything in the herb garden is thriving except basil. It looks like the Charlie Brown tree. A stalk and one little shriveled brown leaf barely hanging on.

I just learned that Basil originated in India where it was considered sacred to the Gods. Spreading to the Mediterranean areas and now as we know strongly associated with Italian cuisine. Basil also is a member of the mint family, who knew.

I usually grow a few types of basil so I have different leaves to choose from. They do have differences in flavor as well. The smallest leaves are great for garnish. I like the bigger leaves to roll up and chiffonade for salads, sandwiches or pasta.

Basil as we have seen does not like cold Chicago springs. It wants to be at 70 degrees average during the day with no lower than 50’s at night. It will be the first herb to go this fall. OMG I can’t believe I mentioned fall. Let’s not even go there.

To get great basil all summer long be sure to use it often. Pinch the top leaves off above newer leaves. If you don’t, the basil grows tall like jacks bean stalk but does not produce many great luscious leaves and it will flower and turn to seed to quickly. This means no more basil for you.

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