Saturday, July 26, 2008

Basil Pruning Tutorial ... Really!

Basil 5
One of the tastiest treats from the garden has to be fresh pesto.
You can get my recipe for fresh pesto here.
With this goal in mind I planted some basil in my garden a couple of years ago.
Basil Tutorial
What a pretty little basil plant. I put it in my garden and watered it and weeded it and waited.
basil tutorial 2
This is what happened. (obviously these aren't the actual pictures at that time but they do illustrate my point.)
There wasn't enough basil there to make a good spring roll let alone a cup of pesto.
I decided that there must be some secret to growing basil that I just wasn't allowed to know because it sure didn't work for me.
Then.... last year at the Baker's Creek Spring Garden Show I met a lovely man selling gorgeous plants that let me in on THE SECRET. I didn't have to sell one of my kids to get it either. hee hee I just just had to look pathetic which I did to the best of my ability. Then I bought several of his basil varieties and had the best basil patch ever.
Here is THE SECRET. . . . . . You have to prune it. Easy hugh!?!
Here is how.
Look back at the picture of the cute little plant. See how it has two leaves? That is important. On a basil plant the leaves grow in twos opposite each other. As the little plant sends up the stalk it will grow two more leaves.
Basil 3
You need to go to those two leaves and prune about one inch or so above them.
Basil 4
Here is another example on my purple plant.
When you cut the stalk the two nodes at the leaves grow branches. On those branches will be two more leaves. Cut there and you will grow four more and so on till you have a bush big enough to make a gallon of pesto. Happy thought. :o)
Here is what my little plants looked like after about three or four pruning.
Basil 2 I pruned them way back this week and they are even bigger now.
Basil 1
Good luck with yours.

55 comments:

*Michelle* said...

Beautiful. Thank you!

CathyJean said...

Lucy,
Thanks for the basil pruning tips! You can see my pesto recipe and it's uses on this posting:
www.auntdaisyscottage.blogspot.com/2008

Have a great weekend!
Cathy

CathyJean said...

correction on the link, sorry :(
It's:
http://auntdaisyscottage.blogspot.com/2008/07/basil-parsley-pesto.html

simple~needs said...

great pics!! i have never had pesto. i know, i am behind the times. i probably couldnt even find it around here.lol
i love your blog, keep up the great work!
kim

MichelleB said...

yum, basil! Thanks so much for the tip.

mama k said...

OMGosh! who knew. I'm going to go do that right now.

Anonymous said...

After pruning put the cuts in water. They root quickly, then plant those and keep repeating the process.

JGH said...

Maya ha ha! I have to laugh every time I hear this Numa Numa song remembering that guy dancing in the YouTube video.

Lucy said...

Well that song is on there because if my son. It is his favorite. I let each of my kids pick a song for the music box and that was his. They love to hear their song come up. Makes them feel special for a minute.

Leah S said...

Thank you!! I just bought some basil and wouldn't have had a clue that you needed to trim it until you posted this.

My question is, if one stem has two or three of the 4-leaves diverting sprouts, do I cut the one closest to the top, or closest to the bottom of the stem?

val said...

Your plants are gorgeous!
don't forget another trick...never let it start to bloom!

Malphi said...

Wow, You'd never need to buy another Basil again..so much money wasted at the supermarket, one day I'd love to have a herb garden.

Tam said...

Oh thank you thank you thank you! I knew there had to be a trick. I have tried growing cilantro, basil, parsley and other things and it has not worked out so good! I think I know the problem now;) We use herbs for cooking and medicinally at our house so I really need to learn to do better at growing them!

Thanks again!

Em said...

Lovely basil! I really want to start making my own basil too! I wish my garlic hadn't died... I don't know what happened to it - maybe it will come back next year!

Beverly said...

Lucy, your pesto looks yummy. Thanks for sharing those wonderful tips

DaiseyB said...

Since you grow the Basil I thought maybe you grew Rosemary also. My planter is getting full and it is getting tall and I wondered if you could do a tutorial on how to dry the herbs and also maybe how to grow garlic. You seem to be very knowledgeble when it comes to herbs.

Chayla said...

Thanks so much for your wonderful tips. I'm starting my own potted outdoor herb garden, and I'm trimming today! I'm excited to see how this goes - and your blog music is keeping me wonderful company! Again, thank you for sharing your knowledge with everyone.

Phyllis m said...

Thanks for the tip - it sounds so simple - my basil looks pitiful. By the way - the music on your blog is beautiful!

Anonymous said...

Please give your readers the option to turn the music on...if they want to hear it. Some of us are in places where the music is too loud, and a bit jarring... and it's unsettling to find out how to turn it off (scrolling all the way to the bottom of the page?!Took me forever to find it) .. meanwhile, my nursing baby woke up and distrubed the time I could have had perusing you lovely blog. Quite rude really... if people want to hear it, show them how to turn it on... but the default should be OFF.

Donalyn@GardenStalking.com said...

Hi there - I found this post via Pinterest & wanted to invite you to check out my new Garden Blogging aggregation site here: http://gardenstalking.com. We are looking for great articles on gardening of all kinds, including how tos and uses for fresh produce. Lots of info about it all in our FAQs and Submission Guidelines. Have a great day!

Emily said...

Oh thank you! My basil always looks like that sad one you posted. Here's hoping it'll look better soon!

Tanya @ Lovely Greens said...

Brilliant tip! Thank you and thanks Pinterest for directing me here :)

Lucy said...

Isn't Pinterest amazing! Thank you all for visiting. I am always honored when people stop by and leave me a note!

Natalie Tanner said...

YAY!!! I am SO SO HAPPY I found your blog via Pinterest!! I always spend $5 bucks at the store, buying a LUSH, BEAUTIFUL Basil plant, get it home, pick some leaves off, then watch as is DOESN"T ever grow back!? It is PATHETIC!! Now I know what will help me! THANK YOU!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this tip! Can't wait to try it!

The Sparkle Queen said...

I agree, what a great Pinterest find!

Cant wait to try it!

Anonymous said...

I think you mean STALK, not stock.

Sharon said...

Oh the wonderful things you can learn at Baker Creek! I love how everyone is so eager to share knowledge with everyone else :)

lisa herring said...

Beautiful basil. I actually grew thai basil last year but only used it once so I ended up giving it away. haha. Herbs are one of my favorite parts of the garden, and def. is worth it when you give them a little TLC. I would love for you to check out my blog at: http://busymomsdoitbest.blogspot.com/2012/05/just-cant-get-enough.html I have a few garden posts and some others on baking and crafts. Thanks again!

Lauren Kim Photography said...

Thanks so much for the tip - cant wait for summer to put it into practice

~Barb~ said...

I was looking at my poor little basil plants this morning thinking how they just look spindly. You have saved me...rather, you've saved my basil's life.
Thanks!
Peace & Love

Anonymous said...

OMG!!!!! I can't thank you enough for posting this. I have been having issues with my plants. So I grew several just so I can have pesto. Thanks again!!! Gotta go prune now!

Anonymous said...

I am SOOOO happy to have found your blod thru pinterest! My basil trees also look like the sad one pictured above, i am hoping that with your great tips i will soon be able to proudly display my basil tree! Thank you! And keep up the great work! PS i am definitely going to make one of your aprons too :)

Helen's Handmade Creations said...

Great tip I always had the same problem .. Luckily my mum is amazing with plants and flowers so she told me what to do this is the same way and it really works !!

Samantha said...

Found you on Pinterest. I am definitely doing this tonight. My plants look pathetic so I hope this works! Thank you for posting!

Anonymous said...

Found you through Facebook ;) Thanks for this great Tip :) For this I love the Internet ;)
Greetings from Germany, forest of Eifel ;)

Shari said...

found you via pinterest and my basil is ALWAYS sad!! I am finally starting a REAL garden, your tip may save me much trouble. And, er, WHINING.

Must share the joy, and I have repinned straight from your blog. I will be following you as I need help with the whole venture. Your tip is daysaver!! Thanks utterly,

Shari

patty said...

Yeay! Glad you posted this as i often wondered why my basil did not look as nice...dreaming of a gallon of pesto now. :)

Sachi said...

Thank you for this post !Off to prune ! :D <3 Beautiful plant you have there.

Sharon Kasica said...

I love this post! I never knew where to cut. I just cut randomly when it got too tall. Thanks for sharing!
When I cut mine I stick the whole part I cut off (if I'm not using to cook) right back in the dirt and it GROWS! It s amazing!
Now between me cutting it correctly (thanks to you) and sticking what I cut back in the dirt I'm going to have an ENORMOUS plant!
Pesto for Everyone!!!

Lucy said...

Sharon Kasica, thanks for posting that. I hadn't tried just putting it back in the dirt. I have brought clipping in and put them in a glass of water until they sprouted roots and planted that. This way wounds faster.

Anonymous said...

My basil doenst grow so big. Just planted new seeds but will try this also. Will it also grow higher or only more leaves??

and thanx for the info of course!

Lucy said...

Pruning my basil helped it get really really big. It was a great big bush that year. Last year it wasn't so big but... we had temps over 100 deg. F from the end of April to the end of August. Not much of anything grew.

Amara said...

Oh. My. God. You have no idea how much I needed this post. NO IDEA how many basil plants I've stared at in my garden wondering what the heck I'm doing wrong. Thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou!!!!

Get in my Belly! said...

Thank you for sharing, I'm just starting with my basil plants and wonder how soon I should start. I will start testing this!!

Linda L. Martin said...

Thank you so much for posting this! I am heading out right now to cut, and replant my 3 plants! I so love my herbs! My husband kept telling me that I needed to prune them, but I wasn't sure where to start! I also am dreaming of canning my own pesto, so I can't wait to check out your recipe! I also saw a post somewhere about homemade strawberry basil soda, that sounds amazing!
~Linda
www.lindalmartin.com

Kelp4less said...

Tough to find the flavor in a store bought basil. The best basil I have had the pleasure of tasting was grown in my backyard. Kelp4less helped me.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your advice, I can't wait to see the growth of my basil plant. However, I noticed today that my basil plant had a white bug on it...is it still safe to eat? how can I get rid of it?

Rachel Ring Alborn said...

We followed your advice this year - and our plants are looking great! Even with being away for 3 weeks (besides being a bit dry) the plants are awesome, we are just having trouble keeping up with all the flowers now - absolutely wonderful

:-)

Anonymous said...

This is the best information I have ever found on basil! thank you so much!

Donna said...

I have just found your site. Quite refreshing and easy to learn from. Very nice,just in time for a bit of spring encouragement !! Thank you.

Kelly Marks said...

Thanks for the great pruning tip.
I grow a lot of basil and this will help!

Pomme Coing said...

Thank you So much for this trick!

Anonymous said...

before the weather changes and the basil freezes I allow my basil to bloom. the butterflies love it. Also read where planting basil near tomatoes gives the tomatoes a nice flavor

Melissa said...

So glad I found this! My basics last year did the same thing then died! Figured it was something I did!

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