Volunteer Basil On August 8th
(Those bamboo stakes form a teepee for some pole beans that never popped up.)
Begging To Be Picked Just Over A Month Later
The smaller plants were rootbound seedlings I transplanted shortly after taking the top photo. I find it interesting that the volunteers are so much bigger and healthier. To me, there is nothing better in the garden than a happy volunteer, and basil always seems willing to make a reappearance in mine. Growing basil from seed is easy, and growing volunteers is absolutely effortless, so don't forget to allow some of your plants to bloom and go to seed each year. An added benefit is that the pollinators will love you.
Don't Worry, It'll Grow Back
Realization Of The Day:
I don't think I've ever pulled a live basil plant out of the ground. There's simply no reason to.
About 14 or 15 years ago, when I was still living in northern California, I came upon a vendor at a farmer's market who was selling nothing but basil. He had a long table set up, and on it were several dozen brown paper bags, each holding one entire basil plant that had been uprooted only hours before. They were $1 each, and I remember thinking this guy was brilliant. (And still do.)
But even when I was selling fresh basil to an upscale restaurant a few years back, I still didn't pull up the entire plants when the basil was ready to be picked. Instead I simply snipped off most of the stems and left the stubs in the ground. The plants grew back, and this way I was able to get two or three good harvests over a period of many weeks from just one planting.
So even now, with that crisp feel of autumn in the air, I saw no reason to declare an end to basil season when I did a major harvest the other day--despite the fact that temperatures for the next two nights were predicted to be around 40 degrees F (and heat loving basil will turn black and croak well above freezing). The snipped plants are healthy and happy, and they survived the cold snap just fine tucked under a light blanket. As you can see, I left plenty of leaves on them so they didn't go into some kind of naked shock. Given a few more temperate weeks, these plants should fill out and reward me with more beautiful bounty. And since we're supposed to be having days in the 70s for at least the next week, I think the probability of more basil is very high.
Worst comes to worst? An arctic blast swoops in and kills off my crop. In the meantime, I'm putting in no extra effort except the ten seconds it took to cover and uncover the plants. It may not be a sure thing (because nothing in the garden ever is), but it seems foolish not to make this basil bet.
Pining For Some Pesto Now? Click here for my new favorite recipe.
Another Less Fuss, More Flavor recipe—Fresh Tomato Pizza Sauce.
NOTE: This is my entry for Weekend Herb Blogging #51, a deliciously informative event based at Kalyn's Kitchen. Food and garden bloggers from around the world participate, and you never know what interesting new edibles you'll discover each Monday in the roundup. Check out the WHB rules if you'd like to join in the fun. And click here to read about next week's Special WHB Event.