Do you want to know how to harvest basil seeds? Here is a quick and easy guide to help you harvest them the right way!
Basil must be one of the most popular plants in all of the culinary arts! It’s tasty, versatile, it smells great – and it’s easy to grow! A good chef can always find a use for basil – whether it’s as a flavouring or garnish in a salad, or as a dried herb adding flavour to an Italian dish.
You can use the leaves straight from the plant, you can dry them for preservation and future use, and you can even make your basil leaves into a delicious pesto!
It’s such a versatile and useful plant, that it’s no surprise fans always want more of it! And, as it’s so easy and popular to grow, a little bit of time and care can mean that even a lone basil plant can provide seeds for so much basil, you’ll never worry about running out! Here’s a handy guide to harvesting those basil seeds!
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Where Are The Seeds?
You might be looking at your basil plant right now, wondering where the seeds are – and how you can harvest them!
Well, the seeds take a bit of time to appear – and they mean that you’ll have to stop doing something to your basil plants that most basil growers would normally do. It’s actually possible that you’ve already stopped your plant from making seeds. That’s ok, though – with time, it’ll bear seeds again.
But what could you have possibly done to stop your plant from seeding?
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Well, it’s quite simple. Basil grows its seeds in its flowers!
Normally, when growing basil, you’d take care to remove any traces of flower growth. You wouldn’t normally want flowers to grow on your basil plant – basil plants that have gone to flower might not be as good for cooking!
Why is that? Well, simply, it is because when a plant is making seeds and flowers, it has less energy and chemicals to expend in other ways – so, a basil plant that’s making flowers and seeds might well taste worse than usual, because of all the energy being expended in making the plant bloom!
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Let Your Plant Flower
So, if you want to harvest some basil seeds, you’re going to have to let the plant produce them. This means that you’re unlikely to get great results if using this plant for its leaves – but for the best seeds, you’re probably better off leaving those leaves on.
After all, the plant is going to be using them! Plants use their leaves to get energy from the sun. It’s called photosynthesis, and your basil plant is no different – those lovely green leaves are doing a very important job!
Normally, you’d want to stop any flower growth as soon as you notice it starting. Basil produces small white flowers You’d aim to get rid of any flowers you see – nipping the problem in the bud.
However, for seeding, you really want those flowers to be produced, and the more the merrier. So, you simply leave the flowers on!
In fact, it might be best to isolate any plants you’re using for seeds from other basil plants if you have them. It will make it easier to determine which of your plants is being used for seeding – and help prevent you from stripping the leaves from the plant!
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Which Plants To Harvest?
You might have just one basil plant, in which case this question has a really simple answer!
However, what if you have more than one basil plant – or even more than one type of basil? Well, it’s quite likely that you’ll have one plant that’s stronger than the others. It grows taller and wider, it produces more leaves – and maybe even tastes better. Maybe you’re growing different varieties of basil – in which case, you can harvest from whichever are your favourites!
Generally though, you’ll be better off and will have better results if you harvest from your strongest, best plants. Any seeds that you plant will produce plants that are descended from the plant you originally got the seed from.
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As such, they can be expected to grow similarly – and to have similar flavours too! A strong, healthy plant also has a good amount of energy to put into making good numbers of good quality seeds, whereas a weaker plant may not seed as well.
Make Life Easier For Yourself
Basil seeds grow in relatively small numbers compared to some other plants – and they can require a little work to actually get to! This can be a slow and tedious process, as you usually have to pick each seed.
There’s no magic way to skip this work, but you can at least lighten the load and make life a little easier for yourself!
The easiest way to harvest basil seeds from flowers is actually to let nature and time help you out a little! You have to be patient, and let nature take its course – but this can work wonders in terms of saving you effort!
Simply, the best thing to do is to wait until the stalk holding the flowers turns brown.
Not only is this a great natural indicator that the seeds are ready to harvest (after all, what’s the point of harvesting too early, before all of the seeds are ready), but it also tells you that a lot of moisture has left the stalk and flowers – which in turn, makes it a lot easier to harvest!
If the stalk is dry enough, a lot of the work can be done easily by simply rubbing the flowers in your hands! Much of the plant matter will simply crumble away, leaving you with a small number of seeds per flower.
It’s not much per flower – another reason this can be a little bit of a tedious process – but it all adds up, and you can easily have more than enough seeds for your needs from a decent sized plant or 2!
You might want to use a sieve to help you catch the seeds – and to let as much useless, dusty plant matter through!
Basil is a great plant – and no matter how much of it you use, somehow, you can never have enough! After reading this guide, you should have some idea of how to make sure you never ever run out!