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Old 09-26-2007, 04:40 AM   #1
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ISO Info Growing Basil

After going to Italy and eating Genovese pesto I decided to grow basil so after finding seeds and planting them I have managed to grow to large pots with basil which I'm using fresh for sauces. I did not managed to grow as much as needed for pesto but I am enjoying it nevertheless. Now the winter is approaching and I was wondering if I should pick all the leaves and plant a new one in the spring or find a warm place inside where I could store it. Does the basil resist for several years in the pot if it's in a warm place?

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Old 09-26-2007, 06:44 AM   #2
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Hi. My experience has been that basil is an annual that needs to be replanted every year. If you can buy small plants locally in the spring, they will have time to grow to large, 2-3-foot tall plants that have enough leaves for several batches of pesto. HTH.
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Old 09-26-2007, 06:45 AM   #3
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As long as you have a warm and sunny area indoors, the basil should grow just fine. If you want extra basil, you could start some from seed indoors and keep it in the same warm and sunny location indoors.
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Old 09-26-2007, 09:52 AM   #4
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I bought one of those root ball basils at the supermarket last Jan or Feb. Had it growing on my kitchen window sill, now it's outside. Time to bring it back indoors. I wonder how much longer it will last...........
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Old 09-26-2007, 10:06 AM   #5
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It's been my experience that basil, because it is a an annual, is pretty hard to keep over the winter, even in the greenhouse.
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Old 09-26-2007, 10:11 AM   #6
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Yellowish

I started noticing a few days ago that some leaves are going yellowish so this made me wonder. Should I collect and dry the leaves before everything will go yellowish or it's a separate incident.
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Old 09-26-2007, 10:21 AM   #7
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Have started seeds in pots about this time of year and grown basil in the house throughout the winter.

It won't be enough for a pesto by a long shot, but it will supply you with some tasty basil.
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Old 09-26-2007, 10:38 AM   #8
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Basil grows wonderfully indoors in pots - provided that you can give it at least 5 hours of direct sunlight a day. Direct southern, southeastern, or southwestern exposures will work - best to worst in that order.

It doesn't always produce as long as it would outdoors, but does well enough for long enough for me - although I'm blessed with south, east, & west floor-to-ceiling wall-to-wall windows & skylights in my living/dining room areas. My biggest problem is that my cats like munching on it, which of course then makes some of it - ahem - less palatable to me - lol!!

If you have less light &/or space to afford it, look for seed of the smaller types like "Globe", etc. Still terrific for cooking, but are more attractive compact plants. Also, it sprouts quickly & easily from seed, so it's super easy to start a new pot or two whenever you want.
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Old 09-26-2007, 11:53 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by len_p View Post
I started noticing a few days ago that some leaves are going yellowish so this made me wonder. Should I collect and dry the leaves before everything will go yellowish or it's a separate incident.
To keep a more robust flavor, I put the end-of-season leaves in the food processor with enough water to cover and process till the leaves are finely chopped. Then fill ice cube trays with the mixture and freeze. When frozen, put the cubes in plastic bags to keep in the freezer. During the winter, add to soups, stews and sauces that benefit from a little basil flavor. Works great
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Old 09-26-2007, 12:13 PM   #10
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Strange info

I was googling for basil and found this rather disturbing info which I have never have thought about basil on wikipedia:

"Basil, like other aromatic plants such as fenel and tarragon, contains estragole, a known carcinogen and teratogen in rats and mice. While human effects are currently unstudied, the rodent experiments indicate that it would take 1001000 times the normal anticipated exposure to become a cancer risk."
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Old 09-26-2007, 01:05 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by len_p View Post
I was googling for basil and found this rather disturbing info which I have never have thought about basil on wikipedia:

"Basil, like other aromatic plants such as fenel and tarragon, contains estragole, a known carcinogen and teratogen in rats and mice. While human effects are currently unstudied, the rodent experiments indicate that it would take 1001000 times the normal anticipated exposure to become a cancer risk."
Two things: First, Wikipedia is not written by experts, just by people interested in a topic, and anyone can change anything they want on there. I could go on and change that sentence to say whatever I want. So it's not necessarily a reliable source of information. I would suggest googline with this: "site:*.gov basil" and then with this: "site:*.edu basil" (without the quote marks). The site: part specifies that the results will be only from government (for the first one) and education (for the second one, and .edu domains are limited to higher education).

Second, it says "it would take 1001000 times the normal anticipated exposure to become a cancer risk." If that's true for rodents, it's generally true for humans, too; that's why scientists use rodents for study: their physical characteristics are close enough to human that they make a good stand-in - but they're not identical. So I wouldn't worry about getting carcinogenic amounts of anything from herbs. I think just about anything is carcinogenic if ingested in large enough amounts. HTH.
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Old 09-26-2007, 01:45 PM   #12
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I agree about wikipedia, it has become too much of a reference for me but I checked it with other sources and the info is still strange for me. It does not change my opinion about basil but it's still something interesting to know.
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Old 09-26-2007, 05:18 PM   #13
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I've not had any luck bringing my basil plants indoors to overwinter. And I don't have anywhere near 5 hours of direct sunlight in which to grow seeds.

But I happily discovered that if I cut stems of basil and put the ends in water, like I do with parsley, and keep the vase on the window sill, the basil grows WATER roots and lasts for weeks!

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Old 11-05-2007, 04:33 AM   #14
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I do get 5 hours of sunlight but my basil which did great indoors over the spring & summer has had it-----maybe it knows what's around the corner (Astana is the coldest capital in the world with temps. getting to minus 40--both F and C) and would rather go dormant. The leaves are falling daily. Why am I reminded of Charlotte's Web??
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Old 11-05-2007, 04:38 AM   #15
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I was told that there is a Greek basil that is a perennial. Basil always dies on me, especially the purple one.
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Old 11-05-2007, 04:55 AM   #16
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basil is an annual which it's entire life is spent trying to reproduce itself by seed, asap. perennials seem to be much more realxed, lol.

5 hours of direct sunlight is a relative term. if you live near the equator, 5 hours is too much. in canada, 5 hours isn't nearly enough. it's got to do with the angle and therefore strength of the sun's energy.

if you have a lot of sun facing windows (it depends on your hemisphere), by all means, plant as many indoor window pot or boxes.

if your plants are yellowing, harvest them, and start over again.
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Old 11-05-2007, 05:36 AM   #17
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You are all invited to a funeral for "Holy Basil" to be conducted this Wed. as I'm leaving for the states. He will be "resurrected" come this spring when his DNA via the seed bank(packets) shall be scattered upon this life-giving earth.
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Old 11-05-2007, 05:39 AM   #18
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Greek Basil

This is where I got told about Greek Basil. Had no reason to doubt him. I knew all the others were annuals.
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Old 11-05-2007, 05:45 AM   #19
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Will have to give that one a try. After Holy B's demise I'll look for some in Houston. Thanks for the reference, Bilby.
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Old 11-05-2007, 05:55 AM   #20
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sorry bilby, i should have addressed that.

there are perennial basils, from africa and india, but they are not "sweet", as are the mediterranean and thai types. therefore, they are used less in cooking. since it is thought that all basils are native to africa, i would imagine either the more flavorful albeit laborously annual basil was cultivated by man, or darwin was at work, for seed scatter.

i would like to taste perennial basil, to see if any of this matters.
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