Trimming Basil

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Trimming basil always requires you to keep a few very important things in mind. Learn about trimming basil with help from the owner of a biodynamic nursery in this free video clip.

Part of the Video Series: Herb Gardening
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Video Transcript

Hello. My name is Oscar Carmona, owner of Healing Grounds Nursery. It's a biodynamic nursery located in Santa Barbara, California. Today I'd like to talk to you about trimming basil. Now here we have a beautiful, lush, healthy basil plant living happily amongst tarragon, sage, parsley, stevia and assorted other culinary herbs typical of what you'd find in a kitchen. In a container and this is a very practical way to grow herbs, particularly if you just need one or two of each type of herb for your kitchen for your cooking needs. So here we have a wonderfully healthy thriving basil plant. And as you can see on the very tips, you have varying stages of budding or eventually leading to a branch that will set sea. It's important to trim your basil plants regularly because the harvestable part is actually the leaf. And the more that you trim the plant back, the more it's going to stay vegetative and provide you with the essential part of the plant that you're looking for. Now the big question is where on the plant are you going to cut so that you can take off what you need and still provide the plant with what it needs to continue to grow well. The best way to illustrate is to give you an idea of a sense of how the plant wants to grow. If you notice on the stem, you're going to have points at which the plant will produce side shoots. And those are called nodes. And it's sectioned off. If you look through the length of any given limb, you'll see places where that's happening. Now the key is to harvest close to a node, just above it, so that at that point it will stimulate the plant to divide its energy and produce two more limbs where there was one, been one. So I'm going to take this plant here, this node, and I'm going to use the tips of my fingernails to pinch off this tip. Just carefully. You can use a knife or you can use some gardening shears. The tips of your fingernails work well and you can see that I've left two branches that will take the place of the one that I've had. And I've kind of brought this down to the core. And then again I would probably do the same thing by coming back here to this node and I can pinch off carefully pinch off a piece of the branch that I need. In so doing you're both trimming the plant and harvesting. And you provide the plant with energy to keep moving at its pace and keep the production of leaves as opposed to going to sea. Because that's all that she wrote. When she goes to sea, the plant is done for the year. And so subsequent cuttings you want to bring it down. You never want to go all the way down to the base, that's just too much. You want to leave leaves so that the plant can continue to photosynthesize and produce in a healthy fashion. I'm Oscar Carmona from Healing Grounds Nursery located in Santa Barbara, California. Have a wonderful day.


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