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Sunday, September 1, 2013

Growing Basil: 3 Varieties from the Garden

I have been wanting to share some herbs I grow in the garden with you. I know summer is winding down but it is never too early to plan for next year.

Today I want to show you basil. I grow three varieties.

Italian basil, sweet basil, growing basil

Most folks are familiar with and grow the traditional sweet or Italian basil. I grow mine in a pot and in mostly shade. It thrives here but does not seem to germinate well from seed until the weather really warms up. This variety grows nice large soft leaves perfect for eating raw or tossed in salads.

Sweet basil

A variety I planted last year and am in love with not only for its flavor but as a wonderful perennial shrub is African blue basil. It is one of the few perennial varieties of basil and does not produce seeds so it must be propagated from cuttings. It will survive cold snowy winters when cut back and mulched.

It is lovely and makes a nice mounded plant for a perennial bed or like I have it, along the edge of my veggie garden. It requires cutting back in winter but comes back large and beautiful. The leaves can be eaten raw but are excellent for cooking as in sauces and marinades.

African blue basil, perennial basil

The third variety I grow is variegated basil or "basil perpetuo." It is a columnar growing basil that does not go to seed either but is not considered a perennial in most areas. It has light green leaves trimmed in white and is good cooked or raw in say bruschetta. This is the first year I have grown it and love it so far. Variegated basil tastes wonderful and has a slight lemon suggestion to it. My favorite this year.

variegated basil

I hope you have enjoyed the first in my herb series. Later this week I will share my favorite recipe for toaster bruschetta.

15 comments:

Faith said...

Basil is wonderful..my favorite to make is Pesto..I freeze it in ice cube trays till we need them. What a wonderful treat in the middle of winter to have the freshness of the garden....and doesn't basil have a lovely aroma?

RobinsJunqueArt said...

I have two, the regular and the columnar. They sit in washtubs on stands and used to be in the sun but due to a new structure next to the driveway, they are now on the porch in part shade. They are thriving and the sweet basil hasn't gone to seed like it usually does. They are growing through the lattice to get to the morning sun and it is awesome! Love the herb series!

Linda W. said...

Wow, I didn't know there were different varieties of basil. Looks like it's really easy to grow. Thanks for the info.

Acorn to Oak said...

I love basil! I always try to have some growing in my herb barrels. I use it all the time for cooking. Yum! Unfortunately, mine hasn't done very well this summer. I'm not sure if it has something to do with the extreme heat we've had this summer. It usually likes that. Also, some kind of bug must think it's delicious as almost every leaf has munch marks. :-( I'm going to look for the African Blue Basil to see how it will do over the winter here. I've never tried other varieties. Thanks for the inspiration. :-)

Lynn said...

I love growing Boxwood Basil...So easy to use in any kind of dish calling for basil that would otherwise be cut/chopped. The fragrance is tantalizing, to my senses even more vibrant than other, more conventional basil varieties. The delicate leaves add a decidedly lovely touch to salads or - well, about anything! Beautiful small-leafed sweet basil, easy to harvest, and tasty! Great as a counter herb during the colder months of the year.
https://sphotos-a-atl.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn2/1240389_686008604746040_621961294_n.jpg

Sweet Tea said...

I think it's pretty enough to be grown just for it's beauty - I don't really care much for basil. I do love dill & chives though. YUM!

Reduce, Reuse, Renewed said...

I just planted my first basil this year, the African blue basil. Thanks for the tips on getting it through the winter. I put it in a pot so I could drag it into my basement to avoid the winter frost. We'll see how it does.

camp and cottage living said...

Elaine
I'm looking forward to your Bruschetta!
So interesting to find that there is at least one basil variety that I can grow up north too.

Precious said...

Thanks for sharing. I love growing basil but didn't get that chance this year. It's so easy and last year I used so much of it and froze even more that I used over the winter. You can bet I will be growing it next season.

Sweet Bee Cottage said...

Yum. Just simply Yum! I adore basil! I haven't tried the basil perpetuo (hope I spelled that right) but it sounds good too. I just love herbs. They have taken over my kitchen garden. No veggies this year, just herbs. But it is so nice to just step outside and get fresh herbs for cooking.

marty (A Stroll Thru Life) said...

This is perfect, so pretty and I use a ton of basil. Thanks tons for linking to Inspire Me. Hugs, Marty

corners of my life said...

Basil is the only herb we grow and have one little pot. I am pretty jealous of your wonderful varieties!

FarmgirlUnleashed said...

I love basil so much and had great success this year (more so than previously). I have been making pesto and freezing just like Faith. It is so great to have on had when basil is gone. I gave a bag of frozen to my mom as well. thanks for sharing on the Friday Farmgirl Blog Hop!

Holly said...

Pinning this right now!

Stacey said...

Basil and cilantro are both on my list this summer. :)