Cool Member
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Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 5:11 pm
Location: LA area

tips for great basil flavor?

Hello there - I am growing basil (among other things) from seed. Right now my seedlings are about 4" high, with about 6 pairs of leaves. The other day I was doing something around them and accidentally ripped a leaf off. Well ... now that it was off, I might at well sample the plant, right? So I ate it. It had almost no flavor. I work in an Italian restaurant so we have fresh basil continually on the line which I sometimes sample. The flavor of my plant was nowhere near the flavor of what I am used to at work.

Any ideas? Probably soil nutrition? If so, what can I do about it? (oh - the basil seedlings are still inside - I haven't been able to get them outside yet. However, when I do get them outside, they will have to be in a pot, as that is the only kind of gardening I can do in my little townhome.)

Thanks for the help!
Plants are just so happy.

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Super Green Thumb
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Location: Central Sand Hills South Carolina

As you probably know, there are many varieties of basil, some of which have less flavor than others. You may want to try a couple of additional kinds and compare flavors.
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.

Cool Member
Posts: 85
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 5:11 pm
Location: LA area

Alex -

Yes, I do know that, but I believe the varietal is the same in this instance. Sweet Basil. It is the most common garden basil, and the most common restaurant basil. As well, both plants have the same leaf appearance. Any other tips?
Plants are just so happy.

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Mod Emeritus
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Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2008 1:04 am
Location: Oregon

I have heard that herbs, in general, have stronger flavor when grown in soil that isn't too rich. I don't know if that would resolve your problem, though.

Senior Member
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Joined: Sun May 03, 2009 9:18 pm
Location: Birmingham-AL, USA

few things to consider:

1) pick your herbs early in the morning. the essential oils are highest in the plant at that point. the later in the day you pick them, the less intense they will be

2) young plants (seedlings such as the one you tasted) are less intense than mature plants

3) the oils will slightly concentrate while sitting out. ie, the basil you try at the restaurant isn't freshly picked, it has been out of the soil for a while. the basil at home was straight off the plant...

so, try your young plant again, if you wish, but pick the leaves in the morning, and let them sit out for several hours before you try them. also, continue to do this, every so often, and you should notice the basil getting more and more pungent as the days/weeks go by...


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Senior Member
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Joined: Wed Apr 01, 2009 1:51 am
Location: Vancouver, WA - zone 8a/b

I noted the same with my Basil seedlings which are about 3" tall now. Don't quite have the flavor yet which I've noticed with older plants I've had before.

The Helpful Gardener
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Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2004 9:17 pm
Location: Colchester, CT

Yound tender babes are never as flavorful as older folk better served by some experience under the belt...

I am proof...

Scott Reil

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