Basil - la albahaca
Basil (la albahaca)
Scientific name: Ocimum basilicum
Description: A tasty herb, grown for the leaves. Often paired with tomatoes, and wonderful for making pesto. Also a good companion plant in the garden with tomatoes for detouring pests.
How to sow: Start seeds in a semellero, when the plants have their first true leaves (1-2 months) transplant them into the garden. Space 10 inches apart with 18 inches between rows. They prefer full sun, well drained soil.
Days to germination: 7-14
Days to harvest: 30 - 60
Care: When plants are at least 5 inches tall pinch off the top set of leave to promote a more bushy plant. When the plants start to flower remove the flower to maintain the sweet flavor. Leaves on a flowering plant are more bitter.
Harveset: When plants are 10 inches tall begin to take leaves as needed. The best time to harvest is early morning after having watered the night before.
Seed Saving: Allow the plant to go to flower. When the flower will turn dry and papery this is the seed head. Cut the seed head off and tie the stems together in a bunch. Hang them upside down in a brown paper bag in a dark dry place. After two weeks or when dry crush the stems and old flower heads. Little black seeds the size of a pin head will fall out. Collect these and store in a dry paper bag until ready to plant.
Health: The oil in basil is antibacterial, anti oxidant as well as being a good source of Vitamin A, C, calcium and phosphorus.