Our tulsi basil patch succumbed to the freezing temperatures last week. Since we planted it in order to attract pollinators, we allowed it to flower in order to provide a source of nectar rather than trimming it like a cut herb. Because we allowed the tulsi to flower a good portion of it had already gone to seed by the time the freeze hit! We’ve left some of the plants in the ground for the time being in order to self-seed the patch for next spring but we’ve also been harvesting some of the seeds by hand.
When harvesting seeds from an herb like basil it’s always helpful to make sure the spent flower heads have a chance to dry out. Since the stems and flower heads were already dried on our plants, we were able to harvest directly from the field without adding in extra time for drying before storage.
As you can see, it’s incredibly easy to remove the spent flower heads: simply pinch the stems and run your fingers across them. Within each flower head is one tiny spherical brown seed. If you look closely in the photo below, you can see a few seeds among the debris from the flower heads. Now that we’ve harvested a good deal of the seeds, we’ll be setting them aside to keep cool and dry so we can plant them in the spring!