Monday, June 16, 2008
Basil and Cilantro
Is there any herb that you have forgotten to plant? Not to worry, there is still time to plant these little essential workhorse herbs.
Many people plant a variety of basils. “Purple Ruffles” and “Dark Opal” have handsome purple ruffled leaves, with tiny pink flowers if allowed to go to seed. This basil’s flavor is more pungent than the more common green basil. We prefer the common basil for its tender leaves and delicious flavor, perfect for making pesto.
Lettuce leaf basil has a milder taste and is ideal for salads and pestos, with curly leaves the size of a small child’s hand.
An attractive way to grow basils is to put five or six assorted basils into a container 18 inches in diameter and 12 inches or more tall. In addition to the basils I mention above, add lemon basil, cinnamon basil and Thai basil for a colorful and edible display.
For my family, chicken soup needs a topping of freshly chopped cilantro added to each bowl, when it is served. Cilantro is a tasty addition to salads and tacos and sandwiches. Cilantro will go to seed in intensely hot weather and does best in spring and fall, but go ahead, be daring like me and plant some in June.
We can’t always garden ideally or scientifically. Gardening can be such a joy when we experiment.