Organic Blooms was the seedling of Jo Wright that’s blossomed into something truly wonderful. Specialising in organic floral arrangements and plants, it is a social enterprise first and foremost. Having worked as a therapeutic horticulturalist, Jo has always known that putting your hands to the earth, planting a seed and watching it grow can be a healing process.
Grow your own basil
Planting the seeds
The people working alongside Jo at the heart of this enterprise are often referred by therapists or social services, and have varying support needs. “It's a beautiful environment that can help anyone who's having a bad day,” she tells us with a smile And now as well as beautiful organic cut flowers there’s a treat for basil lovers (and aspiring growers) out there. A collection of organic plug plants, you’ll get eight varieties of this heavenly herb, all fragrant and full of flavour in their own ways, ready to be potted and popped on your windowsill. Once they start flourishing, you’ll have some brilliant herbaceous characters to chuck into your cooking, and to use in your cocktail-making, if you’re so inclined.
Not quite the an intimate acoustic session, but we did collar our green-fingered Ed for some tips on how best to care for your new plants.
Right Ed, how do I get started?
“Basil can be tricky to transplant. More than most plants it dislikes having its roots exposed. The best thing is that the Organic Blooms plugs arrive to you in fully home-compostable packaging, so they’re ready to plant in the ground as they are. The brown paper breaks down within a few days, especially if it’s soaked before planting. Leaving the roots alone like this means the plugs don’t suffer shock and stay in good shape, and establish themselves very quickly.”
I’ve a bunch of yoghurt pots ready to be planted up, are these suitable?
“We always encourage using upcycled materials – although in this instance basils like a big pot, yoghurt pots are too small to keep them happy for long, and remember they don’t like being transplanted. Best to put them into something they’ll be happy with the for the rest of the growing season.”
Gotcha, anything else we should know?
“Basil tends to grow as an annual here, so untouched it will flower quite quickly, which tends to turn the stems woody and the leaves pointy and bitter. When harvesting only pick the top leaves – not from the down the stem – not only will these have more flavour, it stimulates the plant to produce twice as many leaves underneath the picked ones. Regularly pruning the plant like this makes the plant bushier and stops it from flowering or the stems from going woody. Lastly, don’t sit them in a tray of water –they’re not keen on having a bath or having their roots being kept damp. Press a finger into the soil – if water pools then it’s too damp.”