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Growing organic Thai basil

Posted Jun 26 2009 7:10pm
Also known as Vietnamese mint, Vietnamese cilantro, Cambodian mint and hot mint - Persicaria odorata is not a member of the mint family,

*Edit 12/2/2009*: thanks to the anonymous commenter below (Terima kasih!), I now know it is in fact Thai basil, aka Ocimum basilicum var. thyrsiflora.

but you can also grow it from cuttings like mint. It may not be organic when you get it from the market, but I suppose if you plant it with your organic compost, fed with vermicompost, it must qualify as organic after a while! :)

In Malaysia, it's also known as daun laksa (‘laksa leaf’) [I'm not sure of this now...] because it's used in the delicious spicy-sweet laksa dish. It's also very nice with chicken, and WW likes to use it in stuffing for roast chicken.

As usual, I got a bunch at the market – its smell is easy to recognise, something like a spicy tarragon is how I remember it.

It's meant to be able to grow roots in water, but five days after the photo below, that hasn't happened.

There are purplish flowers on a stem which may help it to grow, I'm not sure about that though.

For those which were going in the ground, I stripped off the bottom leaves because the roots are likely to grow out of the interstices, and I buried as much of the stem in the earth as possible. I got the earth from below our compost heap where we piled all the palm branches, bamboo cuttings, etc.

Then into a wide pot they went – so far, they seem to be doing pretty well. So far, we’re doing pretty well with the ‘market to garden’ series :)

I’ll keep you updated!

Here's a recipe for Katong Laksa (Singapore Curry Laksa), and some advice for growing it in an apartment.

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