Basil and sage absolutely love the heat and do so much better in the summer than they’d do in cooler months, so what are you waiting for? Grow some genovese basil for summer pesto.
When basil flowers start to drop and the flower pods turn brown, it’s time to collect seeds. Only pollinated flower pods will have seeds in them so dont expect to find seeds in every pod. This is why having bees and beneficial insects in the garden is important.
It doesn’t get easier than this. Now is great time to plant basil seeds, so start collecting!
The common thing with basil is that you have to keep picking the tops off to prevent the plant from ‘bolting’, which is going to seed. I usually follow this, but since it’s been such a cold and cloudy season, my basil hasn’t been doing so great.
Basil loves the sun, and so will stop growing large, bushy leaves when it’s cold.
I’m letting my basil plants bolt because I ran out of seeds for spring, and the leaves are too small to enjoy anyway. The seeds form very quickly so I don’t have to wait for long.
True Value is a good place to find organic gardening supplies, I like to shop at the one in Alrai near the Infiniti Showroom.
Here is a nice touch they’ve added at the soils section:
You can grow anything in containers, its the soil quality that will determine the strength of the plants. I found that the plants in my small containers are doing better than those in my big boxes, this is because I put my own homemade compost in them.
Here is a closer look :
You can mix and match your favorite leafy greens and herbs, you can forget about the spacing rules like I have here, because we have a short winter, I won’t wait for the plants to reach their full size to harvest, instead I will harvest individual leaves. This has been working really well. The plants don’t mind being crammed in a small space.
This vigorously growing tomato plant was grown from cutting, meaning I inserted a pruned stem from another plant into the container, and watered it until it developed its own root system. Its growing exceptionally well, I didn’t even get to stake it yet, and its sprawling on the wall and on the ground.
Seeing my container plants’ progress and success in my homemade compost encourages me to make as much as I can for my future plantings.
My soil components are again 1/3 homemade compost + 1/3 peat moss + 1/3 perlite
You can place the containers anywhere that’s in full sun, and enjoy the fresh vegetables all season!
Basil leaves must be continually harvested and pruned to avoid flowering, once basil plants flower or bolt, they start to lose their flavor. Pruning basil also produces larger and bushier plants. I will use this basil to make a jar of pesto for my mozzarella and halloum sandwiches.
There are hundreds of pesto recipes online, I like to use a very simple one. I like to add ground flaxseed for omega 3 and some almonds for vitamin E.
Basil Pesto Recipe:
• ½ a clove of garlic, chopped
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 3 good handfuls of fresh basil, leaves picked and chopped
• a handful of pine nuts, very lightly toasted
• a good handful of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
• extra virgin olive oil
• a small squeeze of lemon juice
Here’s a tomato trick, I’ve grown this tomato plant on its side, its original root ball is right next to the basil plant in the same square. The trick is to lay the entire plant on its side, and only let the leaves and branches out, this way all the buried hairs on the stem will develop into roots, giving the plant an extra strong support.
Raised Bed Tour:
A lot has happened in the garden since the last post;
-All the raised beds are filled with Mel’s Mix.
-I installed trellises to help climbing plants grow vertically.
-I planted some of the plants started indoors back in September.
-I covered the 4×4 beds with a sun screen to protect them from the still very damaging noon sun.
I have so many spaces left to grow, Im planting new things every day,
Here’s what’s growing so far:
Rosemary from AlShaheen Nurseries in Almashatel
This is used so much in the kitchen, I have to grow it.
Purple Opal Basil
This very pretty herb is as tasty as sweet basil, and adds interesting color to your garden.
you can see the older leaves suffered from the heat and sun damage. The yellowing on the edges of the leaves is an indicator of heat stress.
With generous watering everyday, especially before noon time, and with the shading from the sun screen, the plant was able to grow past the damage, and is now producing healthy new leaves.
I placed Zucchinis on the edges of the beds because they grow to be very large and overflow their squares.
The plant will soon have sprawling vines, and so I will construct a small trellis for them to climb, maybe not a big one like the other boxes. Im thinking of using some of my old bamboo sticks, as I have many laying around.
I planted two of my tomato plants in the tomato potting up post. The one on the left is Gardener’s Delight, and the other is Brandywine. I’m going to plant basil and chives around my tomatoes as companion plants.
French Marigold & Sunflower
Marigolds are a good companion plant with almost all plants, and sunflowers will look so pretty on the edge of the bed, both attracting beneficial insects to pollinate my fruiting plants.