A small handful of sweet basil can cost more than a plate of chicken rice in Singapore. When my hobby in Italian cooking takes me from using dried herbs to fresh basil and rosemary, I took the challenge to plant my own and start a little herbs corner along my corridor.
When I first started, I had a hard time finding sweet basil plants and I am not sure it can grow well in this hot and humid climate. There was no answer found on the internet. It is as if no one on this island is planting it or there are just too few of them wanting to post any tips.
My failure came after I tried to replant my first pot into more portions. The plant went dead with wrong soil and bad drainage. I didn’t even know I have to water it every day and that’s when I realized it shouldn’t be plant like a flower.
Unwilling to be defeated, I did more research and discover the right way of planting by putting pebbles in the pot and use compose instead of soil. The next few plants supplied me with good leaves over nine months. Yes, sweet basil can survive in Singapore.
When I want to create my first pesto sauce, I realized the supply from just a few stalks is not enough. I got greedy and went into another phase of research learning how to plant from seeds. That will allow me to have enough supply and create dishes that I long to try.
After I gather enough knowledge to start, I am unable to find sweet basil seeds on the island until I chance upon it in Switzerland during my trip to Europe. I was overjoyed! Then luck came by when I met an experience gardener in a nursery who taught me how to harvest my own seeds. I’m all ready to take on this challenge.