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Basil, green ruffles

Common name: Green Ruffles Basil

Scientific name: Ocimum basilicum

Family: Lamiaceae

Uses: Aromatic, cosmetic, culinary, medicinal.Culinary use for flavoring, fresh leaves are used in tomato sauces, to make pesto sauce, used in Italian, Mediterranean, and Thai cooking, good with weal, lamb, fish, poultry, white beans, pasta, rice, tomatoes, cheese, and eggs, also used in vinegar and for tea. Aromatic and used for drying, for fragrance in pot-pourris and sachets; cosmetic use in herbal bath mixtures and for bringing luster to the hair. Can be grown in containers. Reported to have some medicinal qualities.

History: The name comes from the Greek word "basileus" meaning king. Once the fear of the herb past, it was praised more than a king.

Description: Annual with leafy stems and thin branchy roots. Flowers are two-lipped, 1/2" long, white and grow in racemes at top of stems. Leaves are opposite, ovate, lime green, serrated and 3-4 inches long. Fruit are tiny, dark brown seeds.

Plant type: Annual

Hardiness: Hardiness zone 4-10.

Height: 12-24 inches

Width: 12 inches.

Light: Full sun

Soil: rich, moist, well-drained soil with a pH of 5.5-7.5

Pests:

Disease: Few, seedlings are prone to damping off.

Cultivation: Slow growing, delicate seedlings. Start indoors in peat pots to minimize disturbance.

Companion planting: Improves growth and flavor of asparagus, tomatoes and most vegetables. Do not plant Basil with cabbage or snap beans.

Propagation: Seed, cuttings.

Flowering period: July to August

Flower color: white

Harvesting: Harvest in early Autumn before the cold weather arrives and the leaves turn limp and yellow. Cut the long, leafy stalks for drying just before the plant comes into flower. Spread them out in a shady place or wire mesh to encourage quick drying. Do not hang in bunches as the leaves dry to slowly and can mold. Oven drying is not advised, as the leaves scorch. Basil can be frozen--chop fresh and place into ice cube trays, add a small amount of water.

Garden notes: