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Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
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Basil problems

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Basil problems Empty Basil problems

Post  jymarino 5/15/2011, 10:30 am

I have my basil planted in the square just above one of my tomatoes and it is doing very poorly. Should I move it to another square, or maybe it's own pot? Last year I had basil in a pot and it did very well in pure compost.
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Post  Old Hippie 5/15/2011, 12:42 pm

Weird. I thought basil and tomatoes made a good plant combination. Maybe give it some more compost and check out the thread about compost tea.

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Post  milaneyjane 5/15/2011, 1:22 pm

Basil and tomatoes are great companion plants. Mine were the size of a good size bush last year. I think I would try the compost tea.
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Post  pelujilla 5/15/2011, 3:09 pm

If basil bolts can you still use its leaves?
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Post  camprn 5/15/2011, 3:25 pm

@pelujilla wrote:If basil bolts can you still use its leaves?

When the basil plant are getting ready to flower, I pinch off the flower bud spike and the plant puts out side shoots and gets bushy, making more glorious basil! In the photo below, you can see the short basil that I had just pinched out the flower buds and a lot of the foliage, harvesting enough to make a bunch of pesto that went into freezer. These plants kept producing until just before frost. I think I harvested basil at least 3 times from the same plants last season. I still have a lot of pesto in the freezer and I use it all the time.
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Post  quiltbea 5/15/2011, 8:52 pm

Maybe it was a little too cool for your basil. Growth will slow down on any plants that don't take kindly to cool weather. I've found that basil is one of them.
Just wait to see if it bounces back when it warms up more.

Pinch off its tops to keep production going.
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Post  retired member 2 5/15/2011, 9:28 pm

Has it been cool where you are? Basil doesn't like cold. Mine is growing, but slowly, right now. We have had really cool nights here lately and some cool days too. It will take off as soon as it warms up.
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Post  jymarino 5/15/2011, 10:35 pm

Yes, it has been pretty cool here. There were a few warm days, but most have not gotten past low seventies. Hopefully it will recover once our regular hot weather comes.
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Post  FarmerValerie 5/16/2011, 10:18 am

I'm in NE TX and mine is growing slower than the last 3 years, but we've had cooler than usual weather lately. Just give it time, watching 1 certain plant grow is like watching a pot of water boil, it takes forever. I see you are in the St. Louis area, you've had some wacky weather lately, that would be my guess as to it's hesitation to take off, it may be waiting for warmer, calmer weather. Just give it time, keep one eye on it, and by the end of the season I bet you will be saying, "Any one need any basil?"!!!
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Post  MikeP 5/17/2011, 9:58 am

@pelujilla wrote:If basil bolts can you still use its leaves?

It's always tasted great to me, though this year I will probably start pinching off the buds because no matter how much we plant it never seems to be enough (especially when we want to make pesto).
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Post  Nonna.PapaVino 5/17/2011, 10:01 am

Mike, do you plant some basil along with your tomatoes? It's a good way to add plants and it seems to benefit the tomatoes. Only consideration is that you must do a good job of training the tomatoes up to give the basil enough sun.
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Post  MikeP 5/17/2011, 10:06 am

We have some wet and cold weather here right now, so I put off transplanting our tomatoes and peppers for another week, but yes. The tomatoes will be on the north edge of the garden with some basil in front, and they will also be planted alongside most of our peppers and not far from some eggplants.
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Post  MikeP 5/17/2011, 10:09 am

An addendum; our tomatoes will be in a 2x10 box along the north edge of our garden with the tomato plants themselves in the northernmost squares. The squares in front will have some smaller companion plants so the toms can have a little extra room (basil, chives, marigolds, petunias, geraniums, nasturtiums, parsley, and borage).
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Post  Miss M 5/17/2011, 10:50 am

I have read that producing flowers causes an off flavor in the leaves. Waiting 24 hours after you pinch flower buds allows the original flavor to return. I haven't tried tasting the basil when it's putting out flowers, I just wait the 24 hours. Cool
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Post  Goosegirl 5/17/2011, 1:46 pm

@Miss M wrote:I have read that producing flowers causes an off flavor in the leaves. Waiting 24 hours after you pinch flower buds allows the original flavor to return. I haven't tried tasting the basil when it's putting out flowers, I just wait the 24 hours. Cool

This is good to know! I usually pick my basil for pesto and pluck off the flowers on the same day and I have been frequently disappointed by the slight bitterness in it. Maybe that is my problem!!!!!

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Post  quiltbea 5/17/2011, 3:31 pm

Missm.....I didn't know that about the flowers.
It won't hurt to try it to see if it helps.
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Post  HieronRemade 5/17/2011, 3:49 pm

Hmm that's interesting about the flowers changing the flavor, I've just done basil the past two years in a big pot (actually it was a giant Halloween candy bowl I got on clearance for a few bucks xD) and have never taken off the flower stalks, and I've never noticed anything wrong w/ the taste. I'll do it this year though if it will make the plants grow more leaves!
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Post  thomalm 5/20/2011, 10:08 am

@FarmerValerie wrote:I'm in NE TX and mine is growing slower than the last 3 years, but we've had cooler than usual weather lately. Just give it time, watching 1 certain plant grow is like watching a pot of water boil, it takes forever. I see you are in the St. Louis area, you've had some wacky weather lately, that would be my guess as to it's hesitation to take off, it may be waiting for warmer, calmer weather. Just give it time, keep one eye on it, and by the end of the season I bet you will be saying, "Any one need any basil?"!!!

Good to know that most years thing will progress faster!
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