Dazzled by basil? You're not the only one. Unless you're living in one of the more cosy pockets of the country, you're probably struggling to germinate or grow this tasty little treat in your glasshouse, let alone the big outdoors. Which is why I've gone in for buying a pottle of the supermarket living-herb variety – not to consume but to grow!
Supermarket basil (usually well root-bound by the time it reaches the shop) will thank you for transplanting it into soft, moist soil or, better still, commercially-prepared potting mix. Grown-on in a large, attractive container placed on the window ledge of the sunniest room in your house, it with happily sunbathe in the indoor warmth for several weeks, all the time providing you with a fragrant addition to your culinary creations.
But wait, that's not all! Basil is like a weed when it comes to sprouting roots in water. Snap off a few springs of supermarket living-basil, pop it into a glass of water and, hey pesto, within another week you'll be potting up your second container of this delicious herb.
- Basil grown indoors can be prone to white fly, so when you come in from the garden, wash your hands before you touch it. If white fly does become a problem, try this novel solution: place the pot in a plastic bag. Blow cigarette smoke into the bag and seal the top for an hour or two. With any luck, the toxic fumes should kill the white fly (which just goes to show what cigarettes can do to your lungs!).