Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Basil for 2021


With the work being done in the garden this year, I am once again cutting back on what I'm growing to the essentials.  Well, the essentials according to me 😉.

"Regular" & lemon basil are always on the grow list.  I started growing lemon basil several years ago and I wouldn't be without it.  It's absolutely delicious mixed with Greek yoghurt - one of our favourite veggie dips.

When it comes to regular basil, I enjoy trying new varieties.  About 7 years ago, I had a very bad basil year when the entire crop was infected with basil downy mildew (BDM).  The following year, I grew Eleanora, a BDM resistant variety, and it was a success - the basil patch was mildew-free.

I always plant basil in the the tomato beds,
usually with a marigold or two

I only had a few seeds left of Eleanora last year (I can't believe they lasted that long - a full 5 years!!) and wasn't able to get any more due to the Covid seed shortages, so I made due with the varieties I was able to get, including a new-to-me "Dolly" basil, purchased from Richters.

The catalogue description for Dolly states that it has very large yields - up to 50% more than Genovese.  Well, I have to agree - last year, it was a standout in the basil patch.  Not only was it larger than either of the other two varieties I grew (Eleanora and Genovese), but it also took quite a bit longer to bolt.

Harvesting from the basil patch

What's interesting is that I haven't had any issues with BDM in the past few years, even with non-resistant varieties.  This being the case, my attitude is much more laid back and I decided that I would do without Eleanora this year as I already had enough basil seed in the coffers.

I'm growing 4 different varieties:  Lemon, Thai, Profumo di Genova and Dolly.  I'm also cracking open a packet of "Custom Blend" basil that I received a couple of years ago from Botanical Interests.


This one should be lots of fun as it has a variety of basils, many of which I've not tried before such as anise, cinnamon, and red rubin.  It's like the proverbial "box of chocolates" - you never know what you're going to get.  And while I often avoid blends for that very reason, it's no longer an issue when I'm also growing plenty of my chosen varieties.

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things” ~~ Robert Brault

11 comments:

  1. Love the idea of all these basils! You are tempting me to try Dolly and the lemon basil.
    Sarah from Toronto Gardens.

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    1. It's a standout and well worth trying, Sarah!

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  2. I've never tried lemon basil, does it have a lemon tang to it? It does sound like something I might like.

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    1. It is very lemony - sort of like a basil/lemon combination & absolutely delicious!

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  3. I'd never heard of BDM - yikes! I'm currently growing only African blue basil, a short-lived perennial grown more for ornamental purposes and the bees than for culinary use, but I usually add a few plants over the course of the season. That seed mix looks interesting.

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  4. Yum. I'm a huge basil fan; it's one of those spices I, personally, think is very difficult to overuse. That looks like a delicious blend!

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  5. I love basil. I've been growing a lemon basil and a Thai lemon basil, and I'll have to try your idea of mixing it with yogurt for a dip. Thankfully I've not had any mildew issues here yet!

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    1. I whirl it up with olive oil & freeze it in ice cube trays - then I can simply defrost & add to the yoghurt along with a dash of salt. Yum!

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  6. Lemon basil sounds interesting. I probably don't use basil enough in the kitchen. I grow it every year and sadly it ends up mostly for the bees.

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    1. I sometimes find it hard to keep up with as well as usually there's so much happening in the garden when it's harvest time.

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  7. I have never dealt with BDM, but basil is definitely the single best herb to grow in the garden.

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