Basil is one of my favorite herbs to have in the garden! It smells so good for one thing and it tastes so good for another thing! There are all different kinds of basils to chose from. We usually think of the 'Italian Genovese' basil that you use to make pesto. You can also put it on your mozzarella cheese with a little slice of tomato and ohh it's nice!
But there are other flavors of basil as well. There are lime basil, cinnamon basil, and licorice basil for example. I'm going to give you a quiz! What's this one smell like? It's citrusy and smells like lime basil. How about this one? Christmas cookies? Yes, this is cinnamon basil!
When you are looking to plant basil in the spring, start your seeds indoors, probably about 4 weeks before your last frost date. It's good to start from seed because many of these varieties you may or may not find in your garden centers as transplants. So start them yourself.
Starting them from seed is really easy to do. The key with basil is to put them out after the frost date and after things have really warmed up. I've even planted basil into June into the garden.
You can group them in their own little place or in a little kitchen garden. Another way to grow them is like they have at Fort Ticonderoga. They mix basil in with other vegetables and flowers because they are a real beautiful plant to look at.
Once they start growing give them a little fertilizer, such as little fish emulsion, you want the leaves to be nice and full and big. Pick the leaves in the morning when most of the volatile oils are present. That's when they have the most fragrance and the most taste too. If they start to flower, snip off those flowers and they'll continue to keep producing new leaves right up until frost.
By Charlie Nardozzi
PO Box 4508