Posts Tagged ‘basil’

Plant Profile: Floriferous African Blue Basil

African Blue Basil in bloom, with pollinator-friendly flowers.

African Blue Basil in bloom, with pollinator-friendly flowers.

Most basil plants we try to discourage from blooming because we mainly grow it for for the leaves, (pesto!) not the flowers, but African Blue Basil is different. The blue-purple flowers are one of the best parts of this plant, and in my opinion it’s a must in the pollinator garden. The bees absolutely love the flowers.

African Blue is also edible, with a strong basil taste with a stronger hint of the camphor flavour that most basils contain. You can use it for pesto, or any other recipe that needs basil. Of course, like all basils, you can eat the flowers too. And what beautiful flowers these make: blue-purple spikes atop all the stems, sprout upward in all directions.

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Bee & Butterfly Garden

Where once was just a patch of grass, now flowers bloom on the street.

Where once was just a patch of grass, now flowers bloom on the street.

The most satisfying garden I’m working on this summer is in a public space. It’s a “guerilla garden” next to a public school. (Maybe it’s really not a “guerilla garden” anymore, as the school—including the administration—absolutely love that it’s there.) Neighbours on our street started gardening on a strip of land next to the school parking lot about four years ago. We dug up the grass, planting discards from other gardens, whatever was going spare: hostas, orange daylilies, rudbeckia, shasta daisies and coreopsis.

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Hints for Harvesting Basil

cleaning basil leaves

Basil gives and gives.

When harvesting basil, don’t leave your herb harvest on the counter to wilt. Even storing your herbs in the fridge isn’t the best idea. For even more basil, make sure you stand the stems in water while you have time to make your pesto. If you don’t get around to getting that food processor out for a few days, you’ll have a happy surprise, like I did. I wasn’t planning to root my cuttings, but root they did!

Basil stems rooted in water

Basil stems rooted in water

Basil stems root quite easily in water, and you can pot the rooted stems into fresh soil mix, giving you a new refreshed basil plant and more harvests down the road.

Put each cutting into a 4″ pot, in loose soil mix. Water thoroughly, then leave in bright light, but out of direct sun for a week. Then you’ll have your original plant along with new refreshed plants to take you through the rest of the basil season.



Sometimes You Feel Like A Nut

an almond tree

Almonds may be one of the most versatile and delicious superfoods around. In fact, they are so good it is possible you have just regarded this cat-eyed beauty as a nice little snack, a topping for a sundae or a key ingredient in your favorite chocolate bar. But the fact is they have a multitude of uses, and come in various forms; right out of the shell, roasted, ground into gluten free flour, made into almond milk, or harvested for their delicate and flavourful oil. Continue »



Our Proud Producers: Marinelli Pasta Sauce

We carry some great products in the store and we like to feature them in this “Our Proud Producers” series. Here allow us to introduce you to Marinelli Pasta Sauce.

The thing about pasta sauce is it’s hard to buy a store-bought sauce that tastes as good as homemade, with locally grown ingredients, devoid of added sugars and preservatives. The reasons for this are largely economic; it costs more to produce a superior product. Continue »