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Basil 101

As soon as the soil warms in late May I'm out planting basil and plenty of it because I use a lot of fresh basil during the summer in both recipes and cut-flower arrangements. I love the rich, spicy flavor with just a trace of mint and clove.

Like its cousin mint, basil is easy to grow. It will thrive in garden beds, containers or even on a south-facing windowsill indoor.

There are plenty of choices of scents and flavors when choosing which kind of basil you want to grow in your garden. Some examples are lemon, anise, cinnamon, Purple Ruffles, Dark Opal, Thai, Italian Genovese and several smaller varieties including Spicy globe, Dwarf Creek and Boxwood. Each variety offers something a little different—foliage color, aroma, size or flavor. Basil also makes excellent container plants and is easy to tuck into your flower borders. The green or purple foliage can offset flower colors and the fragrance will be welcome. Plant the dwarf varieties about 6-8 inches apart and large varieties about 12-18 inches apart in the garden. Plant several in a large container and keep it right by the kitchen door.

Basil Planting Tips:

Basil Care Tips:

Harvesting Basil:

Basil Use and Preservation: