500 Seeds Ocimum basilicum Sweet Basil
ESCRIPTION: Sweet Basil is a deliciously aromatic annual herb that grows to about 70cm. The stem is soft and succulent and the leaves bright green. Small white to purple flowers appear in autumn. There are many other forms of basil including Bush Basil (Ocimum minimum), Thai Basil (Ocimum basilicum), Greek Basil (Ocimum obovatum), and cultivars such as the purple-leafed `Dark Opal`, `Tangy Lemon` and `Spicy Globe`.
CULTIVATION: Sow seeds in November or early December or purchase seedlings. Choose the sunniest part of the garden. Soil should be light and well-drained. Add a little lime when the bed is being prepared. As seedlings grow, pinch out regularly to create a compact plant. Harvesting the leaves regularly for culinary use will also keep the plants nice and bushy. If drying, harvest before the plants flower in autumn.
USES: Basil is a most delicious herb, especially teamed with tomatoes. (It also grows well near tomatoes.) It lends great flavour to meaty pasta sauces, chicken and vegetable dishes and salads. It is a major ingredient in pesto. The plant emits a wonderful aroma in the garden when watered. As a medicinal remedy it was used to treat maladies of the major organs and also used to tone the skin. Sacred Basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum) is a sacred plant of the Hindus and offerings of basil leaves in Hindu homes are believed to protect the family.