Growing, Cooking and Preserving Basil
Growing basil is super easy, provides a continuous harvest and a lush look to your wall. Indoors, it can grow as a perennial. While many varieties of basil can be grown in a VerdeGarden, three of our favorites are:
- Rosie Organic - a vigorous plant with beautiful dark purple leaves and lavendar flowers. Not only is it beautiful to look at, it tastes great too! Certified organic seeds.
- Thai Basil - a heirloom variety with a spicy flavour for authentic Thai cuisine. A must for cooking, and its bright green leaves and thick foliage fill out your wall beautifully.
- Sweet Genovese Basil - the best for pesto! Big bright green leaves will supply you with a continuous supply all year round
In your VerdeGarden you can plant 3 basil seeds per coco puck, a ½” deep. You can leave all seeds that sprout grow in a single pot for more production.
Nutrients and Watering
When you add new seeds to your VerdeGarden stop feeding with nutrients and just cycle fresh water on the pumps regular watering schedule. Seeds have stored energy so they do not require nutrients. If you have a mix of new seeds and mature plants, it is OK for your mature plants to go without nutrients for a few weeks. It will slow down their growth, but will not jeopardize them in any way. Running a fresh water cycle once every 8 weeks also help flush out any unused nutrients and minerals, keeping the inside of your garden clean.
Start your nutrient feeding cycle when there are at least 4 leave on your new seedling. Follow the nutrient feeding chart. Using more nutrients than recommended will not make them grow faster and will burn your plants. If you have plants in a variety of life stages use the nutrient recommendations for your youngest plants in your VerdeGarden.
Pictured below are basil seedlings in one coco puck. The smallest one circled in red, is an example of a seedling that is not ready for nutrients, the leaves marked in red are called cotyledons. The largest seedling has 4 true leaves, marked in blue, and is ready for nutrients as per the chart recommendations. One with a plant that just needs water. The larger plants are ready for nutrients. In this case you can just pluck out the small seedling and go with the two larger plants.
Water but do not add nutrients until there are at least 4 leaves per plant. Follow nutrient feeding chart and do not over feed.
Sow 2-3 seeds per
Once stock is 6” tall pinch off the tops to encourage bushy growth. Pinch off purple flower buds to encourage more harvest. Pick young shoots regularly, frequent picking will promote further growth.
To preserve the flavour when cooking with fresh basil, tear the leaves instead of chopping. Basil can be stored by either dehydrating the leaves or chopping into small pieces and freezing with water in ice cube trays - an easy way to add basil to your cooked meals.