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Growing and Selling Fresh Cut Herbs.
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of the Month
Cultural recommendations for basil Annual LIGHT-full
18" to 36" SOIL
SPACING-18" to 24"
HARDINESS-to 40 degrees Fahrenheit SEED
GERMINATION TIME-3 to 6 days
is currently the most popular herb for fresh-cut use. Just about every
ethnic group uses some variety of basil in their cuisine. Because of its
popularity most commercial growers report that this is their biggest seller.
There are many varieties of basil available today.
The most often used type is regular sweet basil. Within the sweet basil
type other popular varieties are lettuce leaf and mammoth basil. These
produce larger leaves, which are sometimes crinkled. The Italian types
of basils include Genovese and Italian large leaf.
There are several varieties of lemon basil that
are gaining in popularity with chefs and cooks. Thai basil is very strong
flavored and is often used in Oriental dishes. Purple basils are ornamental
as well as useful in cooking. There are many types of specialty basils
available from lime to cinnamon. These are interesting to grow but seem
to have limited commercial value.
Basil is one of the easiest, and most difficult,
herbs to grow. It is easy to start from seed and grows rapidly during
ideal conditions. There are many situations that can cause difficulties
with growing basil. It is a most tender herb and won't grow well during
cool soil or air conditions. These conditions, along with excessive humidity,
can cause fungal diseases to which it is very prone. This makes it especially
difficult to grow basil in greenhouses during the cool weather season.
Bugs and slugs love basil too and they can cause much cosmetic damage
making the foliage useless for sales.
tends to flower early in the season so constant picking of the flower
buds is important. Most chefs will not use flowering basil as it tends
to become bitter when the flowers begin to form. Make successive plantings
of this herb to have a young crop to harvest while the older plants are
recovering from picking off the flower buds.
Basil is covered in more detail in Chapter
15 of Growing and Selling Fresh-Cut Herbs.
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Herbs is available from
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ordered from the distributor,
Independent Publishers Group.
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Growing and Selling Fresh-Cut Herbs
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The Herbal Connection