Sweet Basil – Genovese
The best and most aromatic basil, with a sweet taste and soft, tender texture. Perfect raw with tomatoes and as the main ingredient for a fresh pesto. In summer, stash the flavour away in basil oil to use on pasta and salads right through the winter.
Basil is also a companion plant and protects against aphids as well as encouraging beneficial insect pollinators.
Growing preferences of Sweet Basil - Genovese:
- Full Sun
- Well-drained Fertile or Neutral soil
- Sow undercover from late February to mid-summer.
- Grows well in a container, but will require re-potting as the plant gets bigger.
- Freeze the leaves to preserve the flavour all year - wash and dry, then blend in a food processor with a little oil. Store in small containers or ice cube trays in the freezer.
How to grow your seeds.
Sow basil seed from February to June, or sow throughout the year for indoor cultivation out of season.
Sow seed on the surface of free draining seed compost and cover with a light sprinkling of compost or vermiculite. Place in a propagator at a temperature of 15-25C (59-77F) or seal the container inside a polythene bag until after germination, which takes 14-21 days. Keep the compost slightly dry at all times, watering very lightly as seedlings emerge. When they are large enough to handle, transplant seedlings into 7.5cm (3in) pots and grow basil plants on in cooler conditions.
When all risk of frost has passed, harden basil plants off before planting out in a sheltered sunny position in well drained, fertile sandy soil; or potting into patio containers, window boxes, or windowsill pots indoors.
Water moderately taking care to avoid splashing the leaves.
Harvest basil leaves regularly when required to promote fresh new growth and pinch out any flowers that appear to prolong the harvest period.Extend the season when the evenings get cold by potting up the plants and bring them indoors.
Culinary note: Basil can be dried or frozen for using later on, or added to oils and vinegars for extra flavour.