In Tahiti I have a large organic garden. In the garden I have planted two different types of basil plants. One is the large leaf Italian basil and the other is the small leaf basil. In the beginning I left the plants to grow and produce flowers. Periodically I would cut the plants. However, the plants would start to die off after a few months. I would need to replant new basil plants every 4 to 5 months.
I use the basil plants around the garden to help control different bugs that attack my vegetables. I also use the fresh basil leaves in salads, cooking, and to make basil oil. The basil oil is excellent for cooking, stops the itch from bug bites, and makes a great salad dressing.
A few years back I discovered I could keep my basil plants growing for over a year if I just cut the flowers from the plants every 2 to 3 weeks. Each time my plants start to flower I trim off the flowers on the plants. This keeps the plants healthy and growing strong.
After cutting the flowers off the plants I either remove the leaves to put in a plastic bag in my refrigerator or I hang the cut branches up to dry out. I take the dried leaves and crush them to make dried basil. I store the crushed basil leaves in a bottle and use them to make soups, sauces, and seasoning for other foods.
The plants you see here in my photos were planted at the end of March. They are around 4 months old and growing strong and healthy. I keep them trimmed and the flowers cut off the plants. If you trim your basil plants every 2 to 3 weeks you too can grow giant basil plants in your garden.
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My basil looks as though it is going to flower. Can this process be halted by cutting off the brackets or is this useless?