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