Sweet Genovese Basil
days to maturity: 65 days
plant spacing: 1-3 plants per square foot
sunlight requirements: 6-14 hours
look out for: basil leaf miner
harvest notes: harvest whole branches 6” down
Genovese aka Sweet aka Italian basil is the most popular herb ever, however its also unfortunately really trick to grow in Miami! Italian basil is notorious for getting “downey mildew” in all climates, but mildews are harder to control and manage in humid areas like Miami. We grow a new downey mildew resistant variety developed by Rutgers University but even that isn’t a guarantee that you’ll be able to avoid getting mildew on your plants because of how intensely humid it is here. To increase your changes of success make sure your plant is in well draining soil and gets LOTS OF SUN and airflow. Don’t water your whole plant from above but rather water just the soil and allow it to dry out between waterings. Harvest whole branches about 6” down, just above the new growing tips at the leaf joint, so that those new growing tips can produce the next harvests crop of leaves.
“Basil leaf miner” is the second most prevalent pest amongst basil plants. It makes a black splotch with a white and brown ring around it in each leaf of the plant. This is caused by a fly landing on your leaf and laying its egg in-between the membranes of the leaf. Unfortunately no amount of spraying of organic pesticides will treat this problem, as the bug is long gone by the time you see the damage. Pluck off and throw away damaged leaves to try and minimize the population of flies in your garden. If it persists consider giving up on basil for the time being.
Image Courtesy Johnny's Select Seed.