Basil is a classic tender herb loved by many. For gardeners, growing basil is a delight – Picking fresh basil just before adding it to a dish is such a treat.
With a few tricks, growing basil is easy, even in our high desert heat. And it is possible to keep basil producing in abundance throughout the summer.
How to grow basil all summer long
Grow basil in full sun to partial shade. The key to keeping basil producing all summer is to harvest it properly. Cut basil at the stem right above new leaf shoots, rather than pinching off leaves. This allows the plant to grow out and encourages fuller growth and keeps basil from flowering.
Once harvested, keep basil in a vase of water, as you would do with fresh-cut flowers, rather than storing it in the fridge. The cut basil will start putting out roots, and it will stay fresh for much longer this way.
This way, you can pinch off leaves from your cut basil as you need them, while letting the plant grow bigger outside.
So many ways to enjoy basil
Pesto is delicious, of course. But we like to enjoy basil in other ways, too. Add basil to cold water for a delicious infused water beverage. Top your eggs with fresh basil leaves – these flavors go wonderfully together! Here is our favorite farm breakfast:
Start with your favorite bread. Toast and spread avocado. Drizzle olive oil, sea salt, cracked pepper, and sliced tomato. Top with a fried or poached egg and fresh basil and a pinch of salt.