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I planted 5 varieties of basil this year, including your Italian one, and several bloomed over the past couple of weeks while I was out of state. I was wondering whether to continue pinching, or let them go! I think I'll pinch back some, and let a few set seed!
Your basil articles have been among my favorites all year! Thanks for following through to the final stage!
I've found that even on the same plant, you can let a few stems set seed and keep pinching back other branches for harvesting -- and the flavor remains good. But even a few flower buds at the top of a branch seems to affect the flavor of all the leaves on that branch. So I think you've got the right idea: pinch some thoroughly, and let a few set seed!
Great Article! This is very timely...ours is starting to go to seed now. We started making pesto and left some in the garden to go to seed. We are growing your serrated edged leaf Italian Basil; large leaf basil; lemon basil; lime basil; Thai basil; and red Rubin basil. We all love fresh basil here for use in pasta sauce, stir fries, and pesto.
I first learned how to harvest my seeds from you last year in a thread here on DG and I'm very grateful. I always thought there wasn't enough time to start growing basil from seeds. But I was wrong ~ all of our basil this year was grown from seed that I started indoors.
I did just what you describe here in your article, to harvest and collect the seeds, and it works!
I'm glad you're getting seeds from your basils for next year! Be sure to label your lemon and lime basil seeds while they're drying... I thought mine smelled so distinctive... and then I lost the labels (slips of paper, not tape -- whoops), and all I could tell was "yep, citrus!" That's how I ended up with that mix of lemon & lime basil seeds that I sent out last winter!