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.