Monday, August 1, 2011

'Tis Better to Give Than to Receive....but it Sure Ain't Cheap!

Every time you turn around it's somebody's birthday, anniversary or for some reason you feel compelled to give a gift.  As much as you love your friends, family and just starts getting expensive to be buying all those gifts.  Let's face it most of the time we are buying something just to buy it, we aren't even sure they are going to really like it!
Well problem solved!  Nothing is more personal, unique and useful than the gift of a plant.  Not just any plant, a basil plant.  Not only are they pleasing to the eye, but they are useful too! Chopped basil tastes wonderful on pastas, pizzas, fresh salads etc. 
Basil plants are easy to grow and as long as you water them regularly, give them some sun and pick at them once in a while they aren't going anywhere.  Now you are saying, "Okay I've seen herbs at the garden center before and they aren't cheap."  Well I've got that problem solved too.  The trick is to grow your own basil plants from cuttings.  I promise this is so easy to do.  I'm domestically inept, remember?  If I can do it, you can do it!  Here's how you do it:

1. Buy your own basil plant or better yet grow your own from seeds.  If you buy one, be sure it looks healthy and is rather full, so you can get more cuttings off of it.

Basil Cutting, Ready to Plant
2.  Once your plant is thriving snip off a 4 inch segment of one of the stems just below a "node."  (This is where the leaves meet the stem).

3.  Pick off the lower leaves but be sure to leave a few leaves at the top of the segment (Leaves are necessary for....dare I say the word...photosynthesis, I know my brain hurts just thinking about it)!

4.  Place the segment in a small glass jar half full of water and set the jar in a sunny window.  Be sure to change the water every few days.

5.  In about 1-3 weeks you will begin to see roots forming on the lower segment that is submerged in water.  

See the roots???
6.  Once the plant has decent looking roots (not just nubs but slightly longer, usually takes about 2 weeks in my house) plant it in a pretty pot with some potting mix and water thoroughly.  

All you have to do is keep snipping away at your original basil plant to keep propagating little plants to give away.  You can literally grow dozens upon dozens of little plants from one single plant!  Keep in mind there are numerous types of basil.  Purple basil is especially beautiful and makes for a very unique plant to give away.  
What about the containers to give them away in???  Aren't those expensive?  You really only need a small pot for basil plants.  These can be found at garage sales, thrift stores, or even dollar stores.  Keep in mind the end of summer most garden stuff starts going on sale so that is a good time to stock up as well!  For potting mix, I recommend Miracle-Gro.  Lets just's aptly named!  If you buy it in the big 64 quart bag it's usually cheaper per quart and that way you can just keep it on hand so it's always ready when you've got another cutting to plant!

A basil that's a classy (and cheap) gift!!