Growing and cooking your garden's most versatile veggies.
Tomatoes Garlic Basil celebrates three all-time favorites of the American kitchen garden. Author Doug Oster, a dedicated plantsman and cook, lives by the ethos of traditional Italian cuisine: simple food, fresh from the garden. Oster takes his readers step by step from the basics of soil preparation and plant selection to the payoff in the kitchen. For beginners and old-timers alike, this book delivers savvy organic gardening tips, a little horticultural history, serious and funny cautionary gardening tales?and 31 savory, family-tested recipes, many contributed by award winning chefs. There are 65 full color photographs throughout. 272 pages total. The foreword is by George Ball, Jr., Owner of W. Atlee Burpee & Co. He writes: "Doug Oster's down-to-earth approach to gardening shines through in his writing, he inspires the reader to think beyond the garden plot for ways to incorporate fresh produce into everyday dishes."
Sow basil seeds in average soil in full sun after danger of frost. Sow seeds about 6" apart and cover with 1/4" of fine soil. Firm lightly and keep evenly moist. Seedlings emerge in 7-14 days.
How to Grow
Thin to stand about 12" apart when seedlings are 1-2" tall. To promote branching, pinch the shoot tips when the basil plants are 4-6" tall. To encourage the production of more leaves, pinch off the flower heads as they form. Keep well-watered during heat of summer and check daily for signs of wilting.
Harvest when buds begin to form up until frost. Basil is considered the premiere culinary herb. Use the fresh leaves to make pesto or as a seasoning for fresh or cooked tomatoes. Basil is also a great flavoring for oils and vinegars. The bushy basil plants, especially the purple-leaved types, look great in the flower garden.