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The Blog: Let's Talk Gardening

You say tomato, I say basil.

Tomatoes and Basil. A perfect pair for every garden and every palette! There's no two edibles that go together better than these two garden favorites. Many people will grow a tomato or two, but miss out on the delicious rewards of growing basil. Basil is very easy to grow and can be squeezed in near your tomato plants. Some say that, planting basil within 18-inches of a tomato plant can actually improve the flavor of the fruit and repel many insect pests.

Basil is an annual herb and requires a warm, sunny spot to grow. It can easily be started from seed, but if you are impatient you can purchase them as a small plant. Basil is available after the threat of frost has past, typically around April 15. Look for it now at your local McDonald. Basil requires regular watering and you'll want to keep the soil moist, but not saturated. Basil roots will rot and kill the plant if they sit in water too long. Once your Basil plant is about 6 to 12 inches tall, you should begin harvesting the leaves. We suggest using the larger leaves first. Keep your plant from producing flowers by pinching off the flower spikes when they appear. By pinching off flowers, you'll help your plant produce more delicious edible leaves, and not waste energy on flower production. Try these customer favorites in your garden!

SWEET BASIL - A must-have herb for every garden. Best used fresh. Very aromatic with spicy flavor. Sweet Basil pairs great with tomatoes and tomato-flavored dishes.

LEMON BASIL - Known for its fresh, tangy citrus flavor and fragrance. Perfect for use in salads, dressings, vinegars, and fish dishes.

THAI BASIL - Characterized by its slightly sweet, strong licorice fragrance and flavor, it's also referred to as anise or licorice basil. Used as a condiment in Thai and Vietnamese dishes and great for stir-fried dishes.

PESTO PERPETUO BASIL - The beauty and flavor of this variety will earn a prominent spot in your garden. Stunning light green and cream variegated leaves make it an eye-catching gem. Strong enough to carry your best pesto recipe all by itself or to top fresh slices of tomato and mozzarella.

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