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Basil: The King of Herbs
One of the most popular herbs is Ocimum basilicum commonly called sweet basil. Often called the 'king of herbs,' basil can be grown indoors or out. Sweet basil has inch-long, oval-pointed, dark green leaves and a clove-pepperish odour and taste. Sweet basil makes a handsome, bushy small plant, growing to a foot or more indoors. A purple-leafed variety, 'Dark Opal' is decorative, makes a lovely houseplant, and is equally useful in cookery. Do not let basil bloom, or it will go to seed. Instead, pinch out the plant tops and they will grow into compact little bushes.
Basil is an annual and grows 12 ? 24 inches (30 ? 60 cm) as the height varies according to the variety. Cultivation requirements for growing basil: full sun; light, well-drained, nutrient rich, slightly acidic soil; frequent watering (don't waterlog); will not tolerate cold; pinch off flower stalks for a longer season of leaf production.
Basil can be easily started from seed or can be brought indoors at the end of the growing season. If you are bringing basil indoors, choose the most robust plants. Before the first frost, dig them out of the garden and pot them up in fresh potting soil. Basil can also be grown in pots outdoors and treated the same way when bringing them in for winter. Check for insects and if there is an infestation, spray with a soap and water spray. Gradually reverse the hardening off process by keeping the pots out of direct sunlight for about a week. The plants will become acclimatised to the lower light conditions they will experience indoors. Bring them inside and provide the conditions they need to continue growing.
Basil requires at least five hours of sunlight a day to stay healthy and flavourful. If you are growing basil on the windowsill, turn regularly to ensure every side receives light. Don't let basil leaves touch the cold glass. Basil grows even better under fluorescent lights in the winter. Hang the lights 6 inches (15 cm) from plants and leave lights on for 14 hours a day.
There are many cultivars of basil. Two that are particularly popular are: O. basilicum 'Dark Opal'- only herb to win the All American Award of Excellence ? can be used the same as sweet basil; O. basilicum 'Citriodorum'- strong lemon scent ? nice for tea and with chicken and fish.
In the garden, basil can be planted with tomatoes as it helps to overcome both insects and disease. Basil also repels flies and mosquitoes. In the kitchen, use basil in tomato dishes (both raw and cooked), pesto, sauces, salad dressings, soups, fish dishes, mushroom dishes, egg and rice dishes, mixed with other herbs, omelettes, pasta dishes, vegetables such as carrots, eggplant, cabbage, squash, and zucchini. Use fresh leaves in salads and add fresh leaves to vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. Basil can be used fresh, frozen, or dried. Use basil with discretion, as it is one of the few herbs that increase in flavour when heated.
Gwen Nyhus Stewart, B.S.W., M.G., H.T., is an educator, freelance writer, garden consultant, and author of the book The Healing Garden: A Place Of Peace ? Gardening For The Soil, Gardening For The Soul and the booklet Non-toxic Alternatives For Everyday Cleaning And Gardening Products. She owns the website Gwen's Healing Garden where you will find lots of free information about gardening for the soil and gardening for the soul. To find out more about the books and subscribe to her free Newsletter visit http://www.gwenshealinggarden.ca
Gwen Nyhus Stewart © 2004 ? 2005. All rights reserved
The location of your pond should be decided. You've picked a good spot in your yard where you can see the pond from different places, and it's near enough to the house so you can see it from a window. This is really part of the fun because you can visualize the landscaping ideas you'll be incorporating into the pond area once the dig is finished.
As the end of summer approaches, unfortunately far too quickly, all is not lost for gardening with some great ideas on bringing a piece of your garden indoors and creating a winter garden.
A Storage Bench Provides Much Needed Outdoor Space
If you are like most of us, there are two things that you cannot get enough of: storage and outdoor seating. What if I told you that I have the perfect solution to solve both of these problems and that it comes in a stylish, hard to resist package?
Metal Outdoor Furniture - Explained
Mention metal patio furniture and you probably think of the light, fly-away aluminium loungers of your youth or that half-ton cast iron table and chair set on your neighbour's lawn.
Hot Feeding Tips
Summer is the most enjoyable water gardening season and the time to watch for potential problems caused by high water temperatures during extreme or extended hot periods.
For the Birds: Selecting and Placing a Bird House
Bird watching brings enjoyment to many people. Selecting and correct placement of bird house can attract many birds to your yard. The correct bird house can bring enjoyment and viewing pleasure from the comfort of your own home.
When you want to create a beautiful and functional landscape, the task may be overwhelming. Before the first shovel of soil is turned, close your eyes and picture your dream garden. Begin by asking what are your landscape goals. Some of the common reason to landscape include:
Growing Vegetables in Containers - The Compact Solution
Container vegetable gardens are a great alternative for those that don't have access to backyards. There can be a range of reasons to grow your vegetables in containers...easy access to the kitchen, safer environments for children and the handicapped or just lack of a yard to use for gardening.
How to Attract Butterflies to Your Garden
The flittering of the butterfly through your garden is no accident if you planned your garden carefully. The adult butterfly flitters from flower to flower - sipping nectar from many flowers in your gardens, while other adult butterflies search for areas to lay their larvae. It is good to take note that the butterfly garden is going to differ from other areas of your garden. Your natural instincts will be to kill off pests, larvae and creatures in the garden, but in the butterfly garden your best results are noticed when you use organic gardening: Which means no chemicals at all.
Taming Your Outdoors
Slapping yourself silly trying to keep mosquitoes from biting you? Besides causing irritating itching bites, mosquitoes can also carry and transmit several diseases including the West Nile Virus. Although you cannot get rid of every mosquito, there are many ways to protect yourself and those around you.
Fall Pond Cleaning
Doing a full pond cleaning during the colder winter months can be very stressful on your fish. However, if the pond is really dirty and full of 'muck' - then you may want to consider it because all of the decaying organic matter in the pond can cause problems if the pond ices over, and this begins to de-gas and rot.
Garden Sheds: Wood Finishing and Weatherproofing Tips
To keep wood garden sheds, arbors, or trellises looking their best, consider using a wood finishing product such as sealer, stain, or outdoor paint. Wood finishing protects exposed wood from sun, water, insect, and fungal damage.
Easy Pond and Water Garden Construction
Today's successful water garden usually is designed as an ecosystem that uses a balance between fish, plants and bacteria keeping the water clear. The type of pond I'm talking about is self-contained (not fed by a spring or stream) and between 100-900 sq ft; a backyard water garden that is easy to maintain and adds value to your lifestyle and property. 20 years ago the typical do-it-yourself water garden was a muck-filled cesspool waiting to happen, while the successful koi pond required deep water and unattractive out of the pond filtering equipment. Thanks to a better understanding of the pond ecosystem and some equipment ideas borrowed from the pool equipment industry, anyone with the ability to dig, make things level, and move rocks and dirt around can create a beautiful living water garden if they use proven equipment and methods.
If you look closely at the natural landscape, you'll never see a large area populated by a single species. Why then would it make sense to plant a single crop in a field or in a section of your garden? It doesn't. Companion planting makes a lot of sense.
Patio Design ? Expanding Your Home Outdoors
A patio design can be as elaborate or as straightforward as you want it to be. Patios can be arranged in any shape and size and can be refreshed regularly just like the interior of your home. Outdoor entertaining is an increasing pastime ? enjoy it with family and friends!
Hydroponics Gardening - An Introduction To Hydroponics Gardening For Beginners (Part 2) Plant Needs
THE BASICS OF HYDROPONICS.
Safety On Lawn Tractors
Every gardener riding a lawn tractor should be concerned about safety. But, most homeowners don't take much time thinking on how risky can be driving lawn tractors. It is obvious the indestructible feelings that you feel when driving a large lawn tractor. You are there, sitting on top of a extremely powerful machine which responds to your orders instantly. However, there are many things, not desired, that can happen very quickly, putting you as operator and others in a terrible danger. Statistics out there say that year after year, many people experience lawn tractors accidents due to either an incorrect or unsafely use.
Orchid Myths -The Truth
Here are some of the popular orchid myths
Budget For Your Garden
Have you ever thought about how much it costs to maintain your garden? Most people never give it much thought - spending the odd day in the garden when they have time and impulse buying plants at the local nursery.
Riding Lawn Mowers
Most riding lawn mowers are machines fun ride and extremely cool to look at. However, they are just a dream for many gardeners who can not afford one of these powerful gardening equipment. A riding mower can be a practical time saving machine for professionals as well as for beginner or amateur landscapers. If you are on of those homeowners, lucky to maintain a large yard, it can be a good idea to invest in a riding mower. We will explain first the type of mowers on the market and then which one would fit better with your current needs. Basic riding mowers are actually those featuring rear engines. They use to come with small horsepower engines, usually mounted under the operator's seat. These mowers have reasonable power sized cutting blades and fit perfectly into small lawns with less than 1 acre. The next level up is for medium horsepower riding lawn mowers; these mowers use to include their engines at the front; there can fit larger engines due to the space. They have a stronger and faster cutting capacity. Medium riding mowers provide better performance on hilly gardens and are the perfect complement for yards between 1 and 3 acres. Commercial riding lawn mowers are designed for really large yards, including sport fields, they can be extremely expensive for homeowners and won't really provide their best performance in yards no bigger than 3 yards. Riding Lawn Mowers Types Here you can find some important points to have in mind before you decide on the most suitable model that would better fit with your necessities. The final choose will depend basically on: ? The type of terrain of your mowing area as well as the size of it. And what other tasks would you like to do with your new lawnmower?. It is also very important to know whether or not the area includes slopes or hilly areas. The most flat is your mowing area the better performance you will get from the machine. ? It is always extremely important to select a comfortable seat, especially when you will be sitting for a long time. You will save a lot on back injuries and other common diseases related with sat jobs. There is no choice with that, it's preferable that the mower's seat be comfortable enough, don't make the mistake that most do, it worth. ? Does the garden include trees or rocks that require permanent change of direction during the mowing process? It's very important to find all the finishing touch to choose amongst steering wheels and tires. ? There are different bagging or recycling grass options; here you have mainly to mulching or to bagging. While mulching will cut the grass into fine clippings and then give it back to your lawn, providing nutrients to it, the second will just fill up a rear bag, being easier for the rider to empty and replace it with new ones. ? There are many attachments on the market to choose from. You probably just need a riding lawnmower including normal features. In addition, you can usually attach other features, like the ones to remove snow during winter time.
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