Transcript: saving basil seeds outtake with Colleen Dieter

Episode 9, Hothouse podcast

Leah: What about herbs, some herbs that we might want to save, like basils? 

Colleen: Well, basil’s pretty easy actually. I've had basil reseed in the garden by itself. Again, just because I'm kind of like a lazy, messy gardener. That's one of the fun things about being a lazy, messy gardener; things do go to seed and then come up on their own again the next season because they just drop seeds on the ground. I've just gotten really good at identifying seedlings for that reason so that I'll know when I'm prepping the garden the next season or weeding. I make sure like, "Oh, that's not a weed, that's a basil that came up on its own." 

The basil seeds like grow in a little pod thing. But it's like when the flower grows and you see the flowers. Which is hard with basil because your really good practice for good-tasting basil is really to pluck the flowers off, right? People are always plucking off the flowers to keep the basil tasting good because it changes flavor when the flowers come on. 

So you have to choose one plant basically and just say like, that's going to be the one seed plant. Don't pluck the flowers off of it and let it bloom. And then you'll see the flowers will come on. You'll get bees visiting. It's pollinated by bees. The flowers will fall off and then there's going to be like this funky little structure. It looks like a little umbrella or something kind of. And when it dries, when it's almost totally dry. If you pop it open, there's little black seeds in there. I have not actively saved basil seed, so it's always something I've done passively where it's just like, oh, well that one went to seed and I'll have basil coming up on its own.