I have an experiment going with the basil this year to see what works best. A couple of years ago I ran out of pesto too early in the spring, so I’ve increased the amount of basil I’m trying to grow. But this year I decided to try a variety of methods and garden placement. I started seed inside in late February and I planted those out in two different places in the garden.
This spot suffers basic benign neglect and is fairly shaded.
The other batch of seedlings that I started myself, I planted in this prime spot. The little sticks were there to keep the cats from sprawling all over them. The seedlings were only about an inch tall when I put them outside. I know one is supposed to harden them off by gradually putting them out and everything, but I took these straight out of the house and stuck them in the ground. It doesn’t seem to have hurt them. This spot gets morning sun and is otherwise shaded.
These next plants I bought (in a little four pack) from a local greenhouse; they are shoved in between celery and brussels sprouts. They get a lot of light but very little direct sun; what they do get is filtered through a black walnut tree. They were substantially ahead of my seedlings when I put them in the ground, but I think my seedlings have caught them up.
And here are some cats. Taking care of their own duties.
Finally, the fourth basil spot in the garden, is directly sown seed. I planted these in a long row (12ft) next to the swiss chard. Problematically, I planted them too close to the swiss chard so they are almost entirely blocked from sun. They’ve been protected from some of the strong South Dakota winds, but they are not really coming along very quickly. The chard was sown directly at the same time, but of course chard germinates and grows more quickly. I’ve not had much luck with directly sown basil in the past, but this shows that they will germinate –and they would probably grow well if in a better spot.
My goal is to have the pesto made (for the freezer) before any of the basil starts going to seed. Most things I preserve in jars, but I can’t figure out how to do that with pesto without it becoming inedible, so I freeze it in jars.
I put most of it in the freezer, except for some to eat right now. Unfortunately pesto seems to go best with starchy foods (bread, pasta). Tasty, but I probably don’t need more of that right now.