With many people quarantined at home and looking for new activities, this Spring is the
perfect opportunity for gardeners of all abilities to grow vegetable gardens
The easiest and best plants to grow are herbs. They’re also perfect for growing in
containers. Home grown herbs can brighten up any meal, whether it’s home cooked or
For the beginning gardener, common or sweet Italian basil is most likely the basil of
choice. It’s versatile in the kitchen and pretty nonthreatening for the novice. The large
leaves of this Genovese-type basil are aromatic. It is perfect for pesto or tomato sauces.
Basil looks like a delicate garden plant, but it actually is a tough plant for hard times and
has been recognized as a hardy addition to any garden. Purple Ruffles variety has deep
purple leaves that are very fragrant. Uses include fresh garnish or color in salads when
used as baby greens. The bright purple leaves of Amethyst variety resemble the broad,
flat leaves of Genovese basil and have the same taste, but with a touch of licorice spice.
A couple of good heirloom choices are the Thai basil varieties Quenette and Cardinal,
which have exotically delicious cinnamon and licorice flavors and aromas. Both have
beautiful, bright green foliage that contrasts with the dark purple stems.
Basil care is really easy. First, be sure to deadhead the flowers. While they are
attractive on their own, flowering halts leaf production. Be sure to keep containers
consistently moist. And for the best flavor, harvest basil sprigs in the morning when the
essential oils are at their peak. Place them in a small vase or jar until ready to use for
Remember, the garden isn’t cancelled or closed just because we are practicing social
Support your local garden centers and farm stores. They are essential to our well being
and have a great selection of vegetable, herb, and flowering plants, as well as garden
tools that will make time spent sheltering in place a lot more tolerable.