- Author: Tina Saravia
I am talking about the herb Basil with the botanical genus name of Ocimum, from the Greek word okimon, meaning smell. It's a very appropriate name for this herb because it sure has a nice, strong fragrance.
There are over sixty species of basil, with a variety of leaf sizes and color, texture, scents, and uses. They all originated from the tropical and subtropical regions of the planet. They are considered annual plants in our temperate climate. We can grow them in the warm summer months but
they are very sensitive to our colder temperate winters.
I love the smell of basil and the challenge of growing them through the winter. It can be done. But there are steps that need to be taken.
Last spring, I bought three different basil plants. I planted them in a raised garden bed that gets full morning sun. They thrived through the hot, dry summer weather, with ample watering.
Now that the cooler fall weather is here, the Basil Fairytale ‘Wild Magic' (Ocimum basilicum ‘Wild Magic') with the purplish leaves that is closest to the wall of the house is doing much better, as it benefits from the heat radiated by the wall. The one next to it is already showing signs of stress and has stopped growing. A third plant that is farther from the wall and most exposed to the cold temperature has all but gone.
My next step is to surround the bed with clear plastic to create a cold frame for extra protection.
We shall see.