Question about gardening


#1

Normally I don’t try to grow anything. Stuff dies at my house.

I’d like to try growing basil this summer. I’ve read some info on the web, but want to hear from people who have been successful. When do you plant it? Can I grow it in planters on my deck? Any other tips/ hints appreciated. --KCT


#2

Basil grows great on containers on your deck. Since you are in Maryland, if you are buying the plant I would wait to plant it until May. If you are going to grow from seeds, you could start them indoors now.

When you go to plant it, choose a large planter with some drainage holes, put some rocks in the bottom of the planter to aid in drainage, then fill with potting soil. The basil will do best in a location with lots of sun. Make sure you water it regularly, but don’t overdo it. If it starts to flower, pinch off the buds. Choose the nice tender leaves for cooking with. It actually grows better if you cut off the leaves regularly.

A couple of tips for cooking with basil, tearing it rather than cutting it will keep it greener, but if you want a nice basil chiffonade to garnish something, pile up a few leaves and roll them up like a cigarette, then cut them into narrow little ribbons. It doesn’t stay as green as when you tear the leaves, but it does make a nice topping for pasta or whatever.

While you are at it, roma tomatoes grow quite nicely in large containers on your deck too. Plant some of those and you could be enjoying bruschetta, caprese salad, and pizza margherita all summer long.


#3

For basil, how large is a large planter? About what diameter?

I was thinking about growing tomatoes as well. We’ll see . . .

—KCT


#4

I guess it depends upon how much you want to grow. I think about a 10" diameter should be fine.


#5

I would LOVE to grow roma tomatoes on our patio. We have a very small area though. How big a container would you reccomend? Any special growing tips?


#6

if it encourages you at all, tomatoes are even easier to grow than basil :smiley: I’m in PA, and my first year of gardening (two years ago) Basil and tomatoes were all I was able to grow successfully :slight_smile: I started seeds indoors in a cheap peat-pellet greenhouse, then transferred them to my yard. Basil would grow well in almost any size container. If I can do it, you can do it, trust me!


#7

I used to grow basil. I would grow it in a sunny windowsill, and start it in late Feburary or March. It like sun and warmth, and hates cold. It will turn black in a light frost. I had good luck with it.


#8

If you go to your garden center, look for a small cylindrical tomato cage, and just make sure that you have a container big enough to accomodate the cage. The planting advice for the tomatoes are very similar to the basil - make sure that there is adequate drainage in the pot and choose a location that gets plenty of sun. Just don’t pinch off the flowers because those are what will become the tomatoes. I’ve always found romas to be the easiest tomato to grow.


#9

Basil, lavender, oregano, sage and rosemary all grow easily for me; in fact, they are the only things I seem to be able to grow bsides crabgrass and dandelions. I grow the BLOSR in pots that are about 20" tall and 24" in circumference on our patio. I get seed packets from Wal-Mart, start them in the garage in late April, and lug them out when I set up the patio furniture in late May.


#10

Basil is great! Sometimes it’s nice just to smell it! :slight_smile:

Basil loses some of its flavor if it is allowed to flower, so find frequent excuses to trim some off and cook with it. :slight_smile:


#11

To save space/money, plant the basil in the same pot at the tomatoes, right underneath them. They’ll give the tomatoes a nice extra flavor, and it’ll remind you not to let your basil get too tall (and thus flower) before picking it.

When you pick your basil, if you do it in the morning before the heat of the day picks up, you’ll get the maximum amount of aromatic oils in it.


#12

Wow, thanks for all the input. I can hardly wait to start!

—KCT


#13

How fun! I hadn’t noticed this thread before. I think I will swipe some of these suggestions for my own back deck :smiley:


#14

Fyi, basil plants can grow to be very big, and you will probably have more than you will be able to use fresh. I always pick it, wash it, and then put it into sandwich baggies and keep it in the freezer. That way, you have access to basil all year round, and you can just break off a piece and cut it up and throw it into a pot of spaghetti, or whatever else you are making.


#15

when I had a garden I planted basil alongside the tomatoes, they love each other. like most herbs it grows like a weed (which most of them really are) and are some of the easiest to grow, and most like full sun. Bear in mind that anything in the mint family like oregano, spearmint etc. will take over the whole garden rapidly. Plant in pots or planters to control that. so will a vine plant like pumpkins or cucumber if you don’t train them and pick off suckers. We went on vacation and came back to find our pumpkin vines covering the back porch up to the eaves, and it covered the entire backyard. We took a picture which we call “the pumpkin that devoured Cleveland”.


#16

Thanks! Keep the comments coming if there are more ideas and suggestions. —KCT


#17

In addition to the standard green basil, you might also try purple ruffle leaf basil. It’s beautiful in the garden! (and it add a nice color to vinegrettes) Opal basil is another colorful choice. But I think the the basic green variety tastes best. Basil requires warm weather and dies back in frost.


#18

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