Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Giant Basil

I'll tell you my secret to growing "Mutant Basil" and it is so simple. My Stud Muffin came up with the solo cup idea for support and it really makes a difference. How about that, another clever use for the Red Solo cup.

I love fresh basil on tomato and mozzarella salad, Tuscan Bean Salad, and of course in my spaghetti and pesto sauce just to name a few. I use fresh snippings all summer long, just remember to never take off more then 1/3 of the plant at a time. 

Right around the end of September my hubby picks off the leaves from the plants for me. Then I wash and dry the leaves well, at this time I will freeze the rest of the leaves for pasta sauce in the winter. Just load into a Ziploc freezer bag with the freshly washed leaves and pop into the freezer. This is my favorite trick as you will not need to chop the basil, it will crumble easily once it is froze. You may also make pesto and  freeze in ice cube trays and then load cubes into Ziploc freezer bags. Enjoy your summer's bounty all winter long.

How to grow Giant Basil plants
  • 1 live Basil plant, from grocery store produce section
  • Miracle Gro Moisture control potting mix
  • red solo cup, it has to be red (just kidding)
  • 1 large ceramic pot with drain holes
  • small stones
After the danger of frost when it is starting to warm up outside in spring is the best time to plant. I have found they do well planted directly into the ground as well if you don't want to use a planter. I live in Maryland so that is mid May to early June for me.

I like to line the bottom of the ceramic pot with about 1 inch of small stones. Then fill to the top with soil and press soil down with your hands to compact it. Dig out a small hole that is just deep enough to cover the soil mound and roots that are on the bottom of the basil plant.

Remove basil from plastic bag and plant in soil and press firmly around the edges. Then cut down one side of the solo cup to the bottom and then cut the bottom completely off. Now open the cup up and warp it around the Basil plant and this will hold the plant up until if gets strong enough to stay up on its own.

How do you like my little happy face? When it is strong enough to stand tall by itself carefully remove the cup. Keep basil moist but not saturated. My plants do well in partial sun, beside my basement door right up against the house. The cup holds the plant up and lets is still spread out some.

Don't forget to pinch off flowers as you do not want the plant to go to seed. Also your Basil will grow better if you use it regular and if you do not just prune some off.

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