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Bitter basil and alkaline soil

Posted by Slimy_Okra 2b (My Page) on
Fri, Jun 20, 14 at 18:29

I grew some basil this year and it is extremely bitter, with a camphor-like flavor. It also exhibits some interveinal chlorosis due to a soil pH over 8. I amended the soil with sulfur and tilled in compost in the spring but it has been cool and not much pH change has evidently taken place. The plants otherwise are growing fairly vigorously. I was wondering if the bitterness and lack of micronutrients could be linked to each other?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Bitter basil and alkaline soil

I have heard that most herbs like slightly alkaline soil like pH =7.2. Not sure basil is like that. But pH of 8 sounds way too high for anything. You can transplant in potting soil, with extra perlite for drainage and see what happens.

BTW: what kind of basil is it ?

RE: Bitter basil and alkaline soil

Genovese basil.

RE: Bitter basil and alkaline soil

Alright. I know Genovese basil. They have no bitter taste. So it must be due to soil chemistry and inability of the roots to uptake the nutrients properly. I think.

Lets see if somebody else chimes in.

RE: Bitter basil and alkaline soil

Curious if the leaves look fine or if it looks woody...i can only imagine that flavor if it started to bolt...cold weather to early heat...
My basil bed is one that i rarely touch....dug in a bag of sand a few years ago and never fert or amend at all. For me anyway, it does not like any help.

Just put in my seeds pretty thick just last weekend. I wait till hot weather...any earlier i don't gain much in crop. If i try and push it too early i get woody plants and not much flavor.
(so i did plant some too early and they already flowered and a bust.) I'll get a lush crop by mid july like always but i can't help myself to try some things too early...
Just thinking you may have started too soon?

Not sure basil likes compost. It likes bargain basement soil and sand where i am...crappy compacted soil that drains ok....

RE: Bitter basil and alkaline soil

In a previous GW thread, florauk said basil hates cold. I think that's the same person as floral_uk. Anyway, the thread's below.

You thinking there's a lack of minerals and such because of the high pH lockup? There doesn't seem to be any consistent pH info about basil on the web. It's all over the place.

Here is a link that might be useful: earlier GW Basil thread

RE: Bitter basil and alkaline soil

Basil does not like cold, but it just goes dormant in cool temps and quits growing. I highly doubt that temp made it bitter. The ph may be, but my soils here in Denver are around 8 and my in-ground basil still thrives.

Some basils are much more camphor tasting. Did you grow from seed, or buy a nursery plant. It may have been mislabeled. Picture?

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