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In the Garden: Frozen African Blue Basil?

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Los Angeles is cold. It’s too cold for this Midwestern escapee’s comfort even if it is Christmas. Humbug. Yes, God gave us Jesus and a really great climate in SoCal, so it’s not supposed to freeze. We don’t really freeze that much, but Jesus and a frost show up once or twice. It happens; my Yahoo Weather report says expect the low 30’s. It says Buffalo. It says Dayton.

Every year I tell myself to rescue the fragile tropicals out in my garden before the freeze - the freeze that sometimes gets us in March or at least later than now for Christ’s sake. I thought I had time to slack. At any point when it gets close to 32, the freezing point, you need to jump. I’ll need to dig up my butterfly gingers, my coleus (minty cousin) and the modest herb turned shrub: African Blue basil.

IF there isn’t a freeze the tender perennial gets twice as big next season. Since I use my plant in arrangements and not so much in the kitchen, bigger is better. Thai basil ( African Blue and Siam Queen both) rock any bouquet so freezing is really bad. I need big plants. I need them. I must have them.

Saving them, however, can be really simple.

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If, like me, you are too busy with well, Xmas, then you can take a few options You can go the plastic bag route: just cover any sensitive plant. Paper would work too. It's enough to buy the 3-5 degrees of warmth you need. A sheet of 6 mil plastic will cover a larger area, like an acre. But I don't think you have to worry about that.

Of course you could spend your holiday outside digging up your "tender perennials" for next year's season. Throw them in any draining pot and put the pot in the window and you have a new room mate. Of course the new roommate could go into transplant shock, drop its leaves and then die over the next 5 months but that can't be worse than the last one you found on Craigslist. Whatever. Enjoy your holiday.