Having our greenhouse has really helped our basil seeds to germinate quickly. We are on the hunt for new and used plant cells to put them in and have been instructed by a West Virginia State University Extension Agent on how to use newspapers to make pots for the plants as a substitute.
Basil in the garden
Basil and tomatoes really like each other in the garden. Basil enhances the flavor of tomatoes as they grow.
Basil on your deck
Basil can be grown in medium sized pots on your deck. It helps keep flies and mosquitoes away from your favorite spots.
Basil in the kitchen
Our household favorite is pesto which requires lots and lots of basil. We make large batches of pesto and freeze it in ice cube trays so it’s available all through the winter. All it requires is a short time to thaw and then it can be used with pasta, on pizza, or whatever your creative heart desires.
When we were part of an intentional community and wrote up a statement about our commitment to local food, we decided the most honest statement was that we strove to be self-sufficient in Salsa and Pesto. (Since then we’ve gotten much, much more ambitious and have Spinach in February, and potatoes and winter squash well past that).
Basil for health
Basil helps as an anti inflammatory. Eating a raw leaf every couple of days really helps if you have arthritis.
Basil as a fundraiser
We were faced with a challenge when we looked for heirloom basil seeds. All we could find were little packets that were $2.49 for a few milligrams of seeds. When we looked for bulk we found a pound and we went for it. This is 250,000 basil seeds. The first batch have thrived in our refurbished greenhouse.
We took a few score plants to a conference on service learning and made enough to pay for the seeds and have a Pesto for the People campaign to continue this as a fundraiser. We are currently finding volunteers in churches and synagogues in Charleston, WV who will take orders (on the Girl Scout Cookies model) for basil orders anytime from mid July to mid September that we will be able to deliver at a fraction of the cost of fresh basil in the stores. We have the walnuts locally—anyone know how to make a good substitute for Parmesan cheese?