Young Basil Leaf

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When the basil I keep in pots outside goes to seed I cut the flower heads off and store them in envelopes to use in smaller pots in the kitchen, if you do this quickly enough after the flowers have bloomed the plants won’t die.  I love the smell & look of the flowers outside, which is why I keep them out there but I prefer to eat the basil kept inside as the ones that live outside get destroyed by bugs & the elements – also, I find the leaves go a yellowish colour & don’t taste as nice as the juicy seedlings.  It takes two weeks from planting the seeds until they are ready to harvest, so I usually have two pots going – one with seedlings just sprouting and the other with older plants that can handle me picking at them.  I place the seeds into the pot by crushing the dried flower heads gently over the top of good quality potting mix until the seeds fall out, covering them with a centimetre more of soil and positioning the pot on the window sill in a really sunny spot.  It’s important to make sure the soil is kept moist (I give the pots a drink of water every morning as our harsh sun can dry them out quite quickly).   I love being able to pop the big leaves off and use them as a garnish for pasta & in salads.  Our favourite thing to do lately is give our lunchtime cheese & tomato sandwiches a twist by topping with basil & a dash of good quality balsamic vinegar.  Best enjoyed sitting outside!  You can see more of our garden here.

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