Basil is easy to grow from seed and grows abundantly in the summer garden. We often start seedlings to transplant into the garden and we toss seeds around the garden to fill in the gaps. We always end up with an abundance of basil and way more than we can harvest ourselves.
Basil in the Garden Ecosystem
Basil makes a great companion plant to tomatoes and peppers, and can be grown with a wide range of plant friends. Bees love the flowers, so by growing an abundance of basil you can let some go to flower. Its aromatic leaves also help repel pests in the garden.
For a continual basil harvest throughout the growing season, you'll want to keep the plants from flowering and going to seed. To do this, just snip the tops above a growth node. This will keep the plants bushy and producing abundant leaves.
Saving Basil seeds
At the end of the growing season when you're ready to harvest the seeds, let the flowers grow and make their seed pods. You can then just snip the dried flower heads into a paper bag and sprinkle them into the garden next year.
Working with and Preserving Basil
We like using basil in spring rolls, stir fries, salads, seasoning blends, bath blends, cocktails, and infused oils. Just some ideas.
We also make a lot of pestos, which go well in pasta salad or on pizzas, wraps, or crackers. For a basic pesto, blend basil and any other greens you want to use (carrot tops, chickweed, cilantro, etc), olive oil, nuts, garlic, lemon, salt. Add parmesan cheese if you want. You can also freeze pesto to preserve it. Or just make basil olive oil ice cubes that you can pop out to use as needed.
Our Favorite Basil Varieties:
Here's more information about growing cardinal basil .
Here's is more information about growing holy basil.