From about now I want lots and lots of basil. One plant on a windowsill doesn't quite fit the bill. Here's a wonderful solution from my friend Ali. I'm going to try it as soon as my current basil plant goes woody.
"For years I tried to grow basil plants outdoors, with little success. Whether I raised my own plants from seed or bought them from the garden centre, they never grew into the big bushy plants you see in the illustrations of Mediterranean cookbooks."
"So eventually I gave up, and resorted to pots of basil on the kitchen windowsill, courtesy of the local greengrocer. But however well I fed them the plants never produced for more than a few weeks, and I’d be left with a pot of woody stalks, each with a few small leaves."
"The results were spectacular. Within a couple of weeks the plants were shooting up and smothered in big fresh leaves. I soon had enough basil to pick by the handful, just like it says in the recipes! By watering regularly, and pinching out any flower-heads that formed, I managed to keep my basil forest going right through the summer. Such a treat, being able to make regular batches of homegrown pesto! "