Herb Stories: Basil in Winter

In my January herb blog, I wrote about my pineapple sage which was putting on quite a show. The
recent frost didn’t bother her in the least and she’s still going strong. In the raised bed to
the left of her, I planted four types of basil last summer: Genovese, Thai, African blue,
and holy basil.

Basil Throughout the Year

Over the summer I watered my basil every morning and it basked in the sun all day and
grew, grew, grew. I was the basil queen. I was making pesto, putting it in salads, packing
leaves into bags and giving it away, and about every five days I’d take cuttings, put them
in water, let them root, pot them up, and force them on everyone I knew. The Genovese
was especially prolific; it was the bunny rabbit of basil.

In the fall, leaf production went down as the basil flowers became more aggressive. I
decided to cut all of them back to see what would happen. So here we are in February
and until that frost we just had at the end of January, the Thai basil, especially, was
thriving, both leaves and flowers, and the bees were loving it. The Genovese basil died off
around October, but the African blue and holy basil also were happy, just not as
exuberant as the Thai.

Now, they look sad. The frost came and they weren’t having it. I’ve decided to pull them out, thank them
for their service, and in the spring plant a few more varieties in my other raised bed
where I want to try out square foot gardening. I went to one of those workshops and am
eager to try that out. They said to plant herbs in some of your squares to attract
pollinators.

What kinds of basil I buy depends on what I find in my local nurseries, but I’m going to
keep an eye out for Marseillaise Dwarf. I have heard it is supposed to have the best flavor.

I’ll let you know.

For more information about gardening with basil, visit: https://gardeningsolutions.ifas.ufl.edu/plants/edibles/vegetables/basil.html

For overall information about herb gardening, see: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/VH020

Written by Rhona Scoville, UF/IFAS Extension Clay County Master Gardener Volunteer

 

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Posted: February 11, 2022


Category: Florida-Friendly Landscaping, Fruits & Vegetables, Home Landscapes
Tags: Basil, Bees, Florida-Friendly, Florida-Friendly Landscaping, Gardening, Herb Garden, Herbs, Landscaping, Master Gardener, Master Gardener Volunteer, Pollinators


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