Basil is so popular in our kitchen that we grow five types at The Ranch: Thai, Genovese, Cinnamon, Purple, and Holy. Of the 20 pounds harvested weekly during its season, the Genovese basil is our Head Gardener Salvador’s favorite. Ground into a fresh pesto with pine nuts and olive oil or served with a splash of olive oil on a tomato. He likes its simplicity. The subtle summery sweet, and savory herb perfectly complements fresh organic olive oil, balsamic vinegar, fruit, vegetables, and delicious peanut butter and avocado sandwiches. (Chunky peanuts, smooth, creamy avocado, and basil for the lunchtime win!)
Basil thrives in full sunlight, Salvador says, and an excellent rich soil with compost that drains well.
You don’t want the water to puddle. The best time to plant for us is in the coolness of early March, 72.5°F to 80°F, and the first harvest usually starts in June, weather depending, and will last till late October or early November.
We also use it in our watermelon water, salad dressings, pizza toppings, deserts, and a few of our delicious salsas.