Author Topic: Basil has bolted...now what?  (Read 2629 times)

Offline Joe in TN

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Basil has bolted...now what?
« on: June 21, 2012, 08:47:27 AM »
Basil is bolting, but does that mean anything?  I really haven't noticed a difference in the taste of the leaves.  Is there a way I can trim it to help it not bolt next time?  Anything I should do now?  Thanks,'

Joe

Offline Cedar

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Re: Basil has bolted...now what?
« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2012, 09:57:06 AM »
Keep it cut, keep it watered.

Cedar
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Offline Skunkeye

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Re: Basil has bolted...now what?
« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2012, 01:50:37 PM »
Basil doesn't really "bolt" the way the word is used to describe greens like lettuce, where the plant completely changes its growth habit and flavor.  Just cut off the flower heads and keep on growin'.  Basil can survive a pretty drastic trimming, so you can always cut the plant back by a quarter or a half and it will grow back bushier than before, provided it has a strong root system.  The flowers themselves can be used the same way you use the leaves.  They have a pretty similar flavor in most basil varieties I've grown.

Cedar's advice is spot on:  in the future, if you want to prevent it flowering, just keep cutting it back.  If you don't have a use for the fresh basil at that time, lay the leaves out on a window screen (not in direct sunlight) and dry them for future use.  In any case, the plant isn't ruined (for food use) by flowering the way lettuce is.
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Offline rdg

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Re: Basil has bolted...now what?
« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2012, 08:23:49 PM »
Skunkeye,

Thanks for the tip. I usually don't start cutting my basil until the tomatoes start ripening because my favorite use is to make tomato basil salad with some fresh mozzarella drizzled with olive oil. By the time the tomatoes are ripe, I usually have flowers on my basil plants.

-RDG

Offline Skunkeye

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Re: Basil has bolted...now what?
« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2012, 10:50:34 PM »
Mmmmmmm...  Caprese salad...  One of my favorite uses of basil, too. 

Another way to preserve it is to chop it up with a little olive oil (a food processor works well), and freeze it in small chunks (like in an old ice cube tray), then store the chunks in a freezer bag in the freezer.  Use just enough oil to make it into a paste-ish consistency.  Then you can throw one of the chunks into a soup, pasta sauce, or whatever and get fresh basil flavor in the middle of winter.  It'll keep for a year or more that way.
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Offline Joe in TN

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Re: Basil has bolted...now what?
« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2012, 08:10:46 AM »
Thank you, thank you.  Great responses!  I'll keep it cut, watered and will be trying the freezing tip Skunkeye suggested.

I was going to grow some more basil this year for the rabbits, now I will double what I was going to plant to save more for us too.

Joe

Offline cohutt

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Re: Basil has bolted...now what?
« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2012, 06:58:23 AM »
i pinch the tops off as it grows, right as bud is thinking about forming.

two new branches start there then it happens again when those buds are pinched.

when harvesting i cut a branch down to just above the last (first?) set of leaves and two new branches come back. By the end of the season the plants are still putting out new growth and are bushy vs leggy.

The olive oil freeze idea above works well.

This is the first year I have had drip irrigation installed; per cedar water water water makes all the difference in the world.  This is typical for this year's basil crops; it has morning shade the several hours of afternoon sun, gets regular water.  (the purple basil plant at its base is completely shaded by the large plant now and is going nowhere fast lol. )

The bamboo "hose catcher" staked next to it is a tad under 30" tall for scale:


Offline orrville

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Re: Basil has bolted...now what?
« Reply #7 on: July 03, 2012, 04:54:18 PM »
Hi let some go to seed and save to plant.