Monday, 6 July 2020

It's All About Basil

The common name for Basil might come from the Greek word for King -   Basileus. In some countries it was valued highly and in others thought of as evil and in some old herbals it was thought basil could turn into scorpions- Strange what people thought hundreds of years ago.

Back in early smallholding days, when I grew herbs to sell at the Suffolk Smallholders show, I often grew different sorts including Purple Ruffles and Large Leaf Lettuce basil. Basil is supposed to be a good companion plant for tomatoes so always planted out into the polytunnel beds - it did well there.

 This year my basil seeds failed to germinate - twice - so (when I eventually remembered ) I bought a pot of basil from Morrisons for £1 and took lots of cuttings, put them in water and hoped for roots.


(The pegs around the edge aren't pegging the cuttings to the jar, just there to lodge the cuttings so they don't fall right into the water.) Every few days I stood the jar in the sink and ran in some fresh water.
The leaves I took off the cuttings before putting them in water were dried in the microwave on a bit of kitchen roll, then crunched up and stored in a jar.

For ages they didn't seem to be doing anything but eventually the cuttings produced some good roots


Only one cutting failed to root and the others have now been potted up into compost to grow on and hopefully give me plenty more to use fresh and dry for winter.


Thanks to everyone for comments on Saturday.
Back Tomorrow
Sue



39 comments:

  1. That's clever!
    Basil, sadly, is one of the herbs I can't tolerate. The other is, annoyingly, leaf coriander which just tastes like soap. It's frustrating because these herbs appear so much nowadays.
    xx

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  2. I love doing this. Whenever something snaps off in the garden or I take cuttings I always try water first.

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    1. I used to do it with sage as well when growing herbs to sell

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  3. I am glad it worked for you. I buy the pot of growing herbs and split the stems up potting them up as they are into a large, 10 inch pot. I start picking out the tops to use immediately which encourages growth and a healthy, bush pot of basil for weeks on end.

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    1. I've only ever bought a pot of basil once before and that had greenfly on it withing a week!

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  4. I am so pleased you mentioned about the Basil seeds not germinating - we are on our second go now and these are not doing well either - not sure why - we have tried different growing medium and pots but nothing seems to make a difference. I will try your method next.
    I like Basil but like Joy cannot eat corriander it has a bitter taste to me but a lot of reataurant meals come smothered in the stuff as it is fashionable at the moment.

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    1. I've never had such a bad failure before with basil, then I kept forgetting to buy a pot which has made it rather late

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  5. Perhaps I should try this as a science project with Rosie

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    1. She might like to see the roots appearing but it takes a while

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  6. We didn't know you could do that. We'll try now. There are loads of difference kinds of basil here in Greece, they grow it as some sort of charm to keep evil away from the door (we were told - we might be gullible). It also apparently keeps mozzies at bay - that might also be in the too gullible category. One of our neighbours showed us a particularly large leafed variety and told us that in Xania (Crete) they use it to wrap dolmades. Now that does sound tasty and true or not we might try it if we can find one of those plants for our own balcony.

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    1. I found the large leaf sort didn't have much flavour, but that wouldn't matter if it had a filling

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  7. Basil is the one herb I really should grow, I love it. I'm not very good at growing things from seed, so I am heartened to read that sometimes basil seeds don't germinate - maybe the failure wasn't mine when I last attempted it. Thanks.

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  8. Boom Boom Miss Sue! (oh, sorry, wrong Basil). We find the supermarket plants ever so difficult to keep alive for more than a few weeks. Might try cuttings.

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    1. I think the supermarket ones are sold before they have much root

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  9. That's a great tip. Thank you. We have always bought the supermarket pots but had given up as they very quickly became infested with tiny white fly. I think I shall try taking leaf cuttings and discard the original pot in case of contamination.-

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  10. You always have useful tips for growing plants. Did you learn them in your smallholding days of experimenting or did you read it somewhere?

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    1. I've been growing herbs to sell since the early 80's - so have tried all sorts of ways to do things

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  11. The only herb I have eever managed to get to grow roots in water is mint.

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    1. Of course - I forgot about mint - that nearly always works in water

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  12. What a great idea for getting basil plants. I used to plant mine among the tomatoes too - I don't know if it helped either of them, but they certainly marry well when eaten together.

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    1. I don't know if it helped either but there was always plenty of basil in the poly tunnel

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  13. How very clever. I must try that!

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  14. Sue you ask about Ocean - the Norfolk and Suffolk Gypsy. I read about her in Ronald Blythe's Borderland (Vol three of his Wormingford Trilogy) - I have all his books - he is 98 now and still lives in Wormingford on the Essex border - he wrote for many years for The Church Times. I have no religious faith whatsoever but his knowledge of Nature and the quality of his writing make his books well worth reading.

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    1. Thanks Pat, I have read Borderland - but a while ago

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  15. basil is sooooooooooooo good!!!

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  16. That’s such a clever idea, I’ve not seen that before. Do you use ordinary potting compost once the roots are visible, and do you have to put them somewhere warm to grow?

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    1. They are in potting compost on the greenhouse bench because the weather isn't too hot . If it had been really hot and sunny I would put them in the shade on the greenhouse floor.

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  17. Thank you, am going to give this a go.

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  18. Love the smell of Basil and nothing quite like the taste with tomato.

    I find things root much better if the root section is in the dark, in water in a little jug or pottery vase etc.

    Good luck everyone.

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  19. I just love basil. Wonderful scent.

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  20. I have never managed to grow Basil; from seeds and always resort to the cuttings from a supermarket plant. First I split the plant into four and pot each one up individually, then I take a few cuttings and like you put them into water.

    I also take lots of Rosemary cuttings every year put these into water too, I love the smell of them on the kitchen windowsill.

    Now you've reminded me that I left my current pot of basil on the kitchen window sill at home when I set off for the Van on Saturday. I doubt it will survive Alans inability to see a dying plant right in front of him!

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