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This year I have for the first time grown basil, it is in two flower pots on the terrace. The plants have grown lovely and taste great.
Now that autumn is coming, I am not sure what to do. Could I just take the pots indoors and keep the plants growing inside ? Or will this not work and would it be better to "harvest" and dry the leaves to use later on ? I think the plants only live one season, but I am not sure.
I live in the UK. Last year I grew basil and brought it indoors for the winter; it was fine for a couple of months but it didn't last into the next spring.
I haven't grown any this year but if I do next year I'd be tempted to harvest and dry the leaves at the end of the summer.
Love and light
yes, basil is an annual and will only grow one year.
it is very tender and will be destroyed at the first frost. it won't live long indoors either.
you can dry the leaves. air dry them rather than trying to microwave dry.
to keep it's fresh flavour all winter, you may want to freeze it. just put it in a food processor or blender with some olive oil and puree. then freeze it. freezing it first into ice cube trays then putting the cubes in a bag, allow you to take out and use a little at a time. i usually make several batches of pesto (without the cheese) and freeze that (add the parmesian before serving).
you probably already know this, but when growing basil be sure to pinch the top(s) off frequently so that your plants will grow much bushier and provide you with more leaves. never leave the flowing tops on.
I've also grown basil and I've really been lucky if its lasted two or three months - mind you we are fairly north here. I've kept it in a greenhouse and had it permanently stood in a bowl of water - but whilst it's lasted its been great. Incidentally I bought mine in a pot from the local supermarket.
I think it depends on the type of basil. I'm in zone 5 which means annuals are annuals & perrenials are perrenials, and had my silver basil only come up one year. But I had a lemon basil that was planted in a container with my pansies & that overgrew everything all summer, I cut and dried the excess leaves, snipped the plant all the way down, then shoved the container behind the garage for the winter.
Weather was all sorts--snow, ice, etc. Next spring I pulled the container front again, sprinkled on catnip seed, had a great crop of that plus half the basil came back & tried to take over again. It made it through the winter, but showed up at the end of June instead of in May, so stayed dormant a while.
Check with your local nurseries, they might know which varieties make it through the winter and which are more delicate. I know the chocolate basil is delicate in zone 5, I had to coax that one. But the main two cooking strains grow great without any help.
(Gawd, my spelling sucked! Sorry, I think I fixed it all now.)
Chocolate basil?! Do you mean the basil with the reddish brown leaves or do you have indeed a basil with chocolate taste?! :O
It'll never pass for Hershey's Chocolate, but yes, there's a slight chocolate taste to it. It's a light flavor and I think meant for desserts, where you put some leaves on sherbet or fruit combos. If you have any basil types at the plant nurseries, try nipping off the edge of a leaf and tasting it, right there, you'll get an idea of the range some of these things have! The chocolate one has been around Wisconsin for sale in the last 3 years, so it may be new. The leaves are a darker green with brown tinge, but the name is based on the taste of it.
I know there's an apple flavored one too (HAIRY leaves! Yuck, you have to crush them for fruit drinks). And lemon & assorted others. Check your local nursery for what they carry, they might surprise you with what's on their order forms.
I will ask a friend of mine who is in the planting business. Maybe he can get such a chocolate basil or even introduce it in Germany. Thanks, HudsonGray.
You can keep the basil in a pot indoors, though I'm not sure how long that will last (I've never had the chance to keep basil for more than a couple months at a time, so I wouldn't know). I've heard that basil really doesn't like the winter - it needs plenty of sunlight to grow. If you place it in an east-facing window, it might be happier, since it should get the most light that way.