Basil Update

With its clean, fresh, and uplifting taste, basil seems to reflect all that’s pure about gardening. Even if it were dificult to grow, I wouldn’t miss it, but luckily, it’s very easy to grow, provided it has the warmth it likes. My 6 selected basil plants from cuttings of the best bush basils even strectched that preferred warm environment. While my unselected seedling bush basils threw in the towel by early October, the robust selected basils grew on in the cool fall weather till the end of October – something I have never seen in the basil world.

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Basil at the end of October

More pesto! This was so lucky because I was (and still am) under the spell of our new semi-feral cat Koko, even to the point of giving up my bedroom for her beccause it was more centrally located in our house, which led to me not sleeping as well and thus falling behind on things. I have just reclaimed my bedroom, but now Koko is in heat – constantly – so I am still losing sleep. Next stop, the vet. I think I’ll dig out that frozen pesto to get me through!

The 2nd generation cuttings that I took in late September and early October (and rooted in water) are now happily growing on a grow mat near a window and a grow bulb (the Sun Blaster “Future Harvest” 26 watt full spectrum 6400K light).

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Bush Basil plants indoors in January

My only problem has been whiteflies all over the leaves. I tried a typical whitefly remedy of 1/2 cup vegetable oil and 1/2 Tablespoon dish soap (Dr. Bonners) which is then diluted 1 1/2 teaspoon to 1 cup water. However, I could see no improvement. Then I tried sprinkling the leaves with diatomaceous earth powder. That didn’t seem to work well either. My last ditch effort was to transport wandering ladybugs from around the house to the basils. This is the only thing that has worked so far. Even just 2 or 3 seemed to do the job. I try to remember to lightly spray them every day for their drink. I could use a few more but my paltry supply at least keeps the whiteflies at bay. I will probably pot the basils up in larger pots in early February. One bonus is that I’ve had a few pruning tips to use in recipes. All in all, these basils have been a lovely kitchen mini garden in winter and hopefully will become a new row of over acheiving bush basils in the coming summer and fall.