How To Grow Tasty Basil And Avoid Firm And Bitter Leaves
Question From: Alexandria, Virginia, United States
Q: My genovese basil leaves are firm and bitter. I have tried less sun and more water, which seems to help a little, but the leaves on this year's plants still aren't nearly as tasty as last year's, and the conditions were nearly identical. Any thoughts?
Basil needs 6 hours or more of sun a day and rich moist soil. It also needs to be picked, or as some say pinched on a regular basis. Older leaves loose flavor. I would fertilize it with once every couple of weeks with a fish and kelp emulsion at half strength. Too much fertilizer will also "dilute the flavor". Just say no to Miracle Gro. Do it in the evening and not when the temps are over 85 degrees. The best time to pick - when the oils are most intense, is in the morning. Do not allow it to flower. If you started it from transplants it may be the plants. There is time to grow more from seed. Or if you have a friend that grows it and has a tasty stand, take some cuttings, root them in water and when the roots sprout pot them up. Hope this helps - Best And Happy Yardening, Nancy.