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Basil Plant Flowering

basil plant flowering 1
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Basil Plant Flowering

While beautiful, bolting herbs are generally not a gardeners favorite thing. For several types of herbs this means that their life cycle is coming to an end. Many gardeners will pinch off the flowers on plants like basil or cilantro to try and prolong their life, and this is definitely a recommended practice. But what if you want to save the seeds for next year? I like to let some of my herbs flower so I can save the seeds for next year. Especially when I know a plant won’t make it through the winter. Basil is probably my favorite herb to save seeds from. Last year was the first time I tried this and the sweet basil plant I grew this year came from those seeds. There is something so special about that. Since it is the end of the summer I let both my sweet basil plant and cinnamon basil plant go to seed. Thankfully they both still have plenty of leaves to harvest and use in recipes like caprese salad, but a good handful of the seedpods were dried up and ready to be pulled off. Below is a step-by-step how to in saving those basil seeds for next year. 1 First the basil plant has to flower. Enjoy these flowers since it’s not everyday you let your herbs do this. 2 Let the flowers dry out on the plant, and the seedpods will form. You will want the pods to become totally brown. Those are the ones you will want to pull off. If the tops of the flower stalk are still green, you need to wait a little longer. This can take about 4-6 weeks from the time the plant flowers. 3 Cut off the dried stalk. Then place in a clean, dry work area. I find a wide, shallow bowl works great. 4 If you pull off one of the pods and open the husk you will see several little black seeds have formed inside. Those are what you want to save. Now if you had the time and patience you could pull off each pod individually and pull out each little black seed. If you want to try a quicker way, continue on to step 5. 5 Rub the dried stalk with the seedpods with your fingers to loosen the seeds, encouraging them to fall out on their own. 6 Take a pair of tweezers and pick up the black seeds that fell out and place them in a separate container. Blowing very gently will push the husks around and help you find and pick out the seeds. 7 If there are some pods that didn’t open when you rubbed the stalk, you may have to individually pull those apart and save those seeds. Either way, patience is a virtue when saving these seeds (but so totally worth it!). 8 Store the seeds somewhere dark, but with some air ventilation for about a week. A small manila envelope is great for this. After about a week the seeds should be completely dried out and should be stored in an airtight container, like a mason jar or an old lunchbox like I use to store my seeds. 9 Next year you can plant your seeds and enjoy a new basil plant! Share this:FacebookTwitterPinterestGoogleEmailPrint
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Basil Plant Flowering

Basil is a leafy, fragrant annual with a bushy appearance. The most common type of basil is sweet basil; other types include purple basil (less sweet than common basil), Lemon basil (lemon flavor), and Thai basil (licorice flavor). Basil is easy to grow and works well in Italian dishes, but it only grows in the summer, so plan accordingly.
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Basil Plant Flowering

Harvesting basil, biting into tiny sun gold tomatoes, feeling my skin warm under the bright sun, drinking iced tea: these are the things I think of when I think of summer’s bounty. Next to cilantro, basil is my favorite herb. I remember the first time I grew basil. The internet was not really a thing back then, and I couldn’t casually look up the ins and outs of growing and harvesting basil. All I knew was that I wanted this herb to give and give and give some more. I wanted cupfuls of it. I wanted tomato basil soup, basil pesto, and fresh sprigs of basil cut into my summer salads.

Basil Plant Flowering

David Q. Cavagnaro/Photolibrary/Getty Images You may already know that it's a good idea to prune the flowers off of basil plants as soon as they appear: if you don't, leaf production slows, and it's the leaves you want for pesto, caprese salad, etc. But don't throw those flowers out!Put the freshly snipped basil flowers into a clean glass jar and cover them with red or white wine vinegar. You can add more basil flowers to the jar as you have them, along with more vinegar to cover. Cover the jar in between basil additions.Once the jar is full, leave it to infuse for at least a week. Strain out the basil flowers (now you can compost or discard them!). Pour your freshly made basil flower vinegar through a funnel into a clean glass jar. Cap or cork tightly.Try using basil flower vinegar in combination with any citrus juice in salad dressings – delicious! Read More
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Basil Plant Flowering

You may already know that it's a good idea to prune the flowers off of basil plants as soon as they appear: if you don't, leaf production slows, and it's the leaves you want for pesto, caprese salad, etc. But don't throw those flowers out!Put the freshly snipped basil flowers into a clean glass jar and cover them with red or white wine vinegar. You can add more basil flowers to the jar as you have them, along with more vinegar to cover. Cover the jar in between basil additions.Once the jar is full, leave it to infuse for at least a week. Strain out the basil flowers (now you can compost or discard them!). Pour your freshly made basil flower vinegar through a funnel into a clean glass jar. Cap or cork tightly.Try using basil flower vinegar in combination with any citrus juice in salad dressings – delicious!
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Basil Plant Flowering

After the seedlings have their first six leaves, prune to above the second set. Every time a branch has six to eight leaves, repeat pruning the branches back to their first set of leaves. The best time to harvest is right when the plant starts to bud (before the flowers bloom). Basil is most pungent when it is fresh. If pruned regularly, twelve basil plants will produce 4 to 6 cups of leaves per week. The best method for storing basil is freezing. Freezing will prevent the plant from losing any of its flavor. To quick-freeze basil, dry whole sprigs of basil and package them in airtight plastic bags. Another storage method is drying the basil (although some of the flavor will be lost). Pinch off the leaves at the stem and place them in a well-ventilated and shady area. After 3 to 4 days, if the plants are not completely dry, place them in the oven on the lowest heat setting with the door slightly open. Remember to turn the leaves (for equal drying) and check them frequently.
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Basil Plant Flowering

Among the vast varieties of basil, Ocimum basilicum, or sweet basil, is the most commonly grown. Ocimum is derived from the Greek meaning “to be fragrant” and thus, is evocative of this plant’s delicious foliage. Basil leaves, whether sweet basil or purple, spicy Thai or citrusy lemon basil, all contain essential oils responsible for their unique flavor nuances. The foliage is easily bruised, releasing the magnificent perfume. So then, should basil be allowed to flower?
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Basil Plant Flowering

So, if your basil plant has flowered, is this a good thing or a bad thing? If you are cultivating basil strictly for its leaves, it is best to remove the flowers. Pinching basil blooms back will allow all of the plant’s energy to stay focused on foliage production, creating a bushier plant with more leaves and maintaining higher levels of essential oils in the leaves. Leaving the flowers on basil plants tends to engender a straggly looking specimen with fewer leaves to harvest.
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So, I planted my humble basil plant in a small container, stuck it outside on my front porch, and watered it often to keep its soil moist. And I watched it grow. Taller and taller it climbed. After it had 5 or 6 sets of leaves, I thought it looked funny — like a skinny, gangly old man reaching for the sun. You see, I didn’t know anything at all about growing and harvesting basil. I thought it couldn’t be that hard, though. Surely I’d figure it out. Everyone said basil was such a resilient plant. If only I had known then what I know now about harvesting basil, I could have had a much more productive plant.
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I live in Long Island, NY. This is my 3rd Summer planting my own garden, so I am still learning as I go. The first year planting my garden, I planted 2 basil plants and they did wonderfully. They grew tall and lasted throughout the Summer. Last Summer I also planted 2 and one died shortly after planting it and the other lasted through out the Summer, but it didn’t grow very tall so I didn’t get much from it. So this year I planted 3 basil plants & 1 cinnamon basil plant. So far one basil plant & the cinnamon plant is already dying and the other 2 plants are starting to show signs of wilting. The leaves are turning yellish and some have holes in them. What can I do to bring these back to life? I planted them at the right time, I water them daily and the temperature is hot enough for them to thrive in. I can’t figure out what it is that I am doing wrong. I haven’t done anything different than I did the first year so I can’t understand why it did so well the first year and why it hasn’t since.

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9 Photos of the "Basil Plant Flowering"

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