May 27, 2012


I have been staring at pages and pages of numbers for the past few days.  Since most of my plants have gone to the compost pile I don't have much to excite me  . . .  except trays full of basil!

Aren't they cute?  This picture is from months ago.  Basil does not grow very quickly, especially when it is not very warm out.  I wouldn't really call it a 'wintergreen.'  It definitely falls into the summer herb category.  

I planted these on March 20th and have been watching and measuring them ever since.  They were started in a tray of composted and transplanted into a plug tray or a tray of compost when they had two leaves.   I doubt this is the preferred method of planting.  When I was seeding them they all fell into the soil and leaving them there seemed better than rooting around trying to get them out.  Transplanting worked just fine, and none of the seedlings seemed to suffer.

Basil is a nice, symmetric plant.  In my notes I referred to their growth by how many sets of leaves the plant had.  The picture above shows three sets of leaves on 36 day old plants.

By this time they were plugs with nice root systems.  To give them more space to grow I re-planted them in either trays of compost (left) or pots of various sizes (right).  (Growing basil is not really an organized experiment, so everything I do is just to see what happens.)

Then I left them alone for a while.  I was busy measuring and weighing all the real wintergreens.  In May I noticed this:


And this!

Oh no!  Unhappy plants!  Picture number one is from basil in a 6-pack (the kind of pot you buy pansy's in.)  Number two is the tray of plants that I transplanted directly and didn't put into a plug tray.  Confused?  Really all the matters is that the basil plants were getting stressed out because they had used up all the nutrients in the compost.  I stuck them in a new tray full of compost and they are much happier.

This week I'm wrapping up all my greenhouse experiments for the summer.   I've already planted seven basil plants in the garden.  The rest will go to other people's gardens, or towards making pesto (the real kind, not the brassica kind).   I just read that basil can be propagated by cutting, so there will definitely be some basils in water on my window sill.   Probably you'll here about it soon. 

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