I Love Rutgers Devotion and Rutgers Obsession Basil

Aug 7, 2020 | Love This!

Name:  Rutgers Obsession DMR and Rutgers Devotion DMR Basil

Type of Plant:  Basil plants that have been bred (no, not GMO!) to grow prolifically and be resistant to downy mildew.
Rutgers Devotion: Genovese type with a compact, but highly productive plant habit. Leaves are large, cupped, and medium green.
Rutgers Obsession: Good compact growth with dark green, large leaves and great basil flavor.

Why I Love/Hate this plant
For the past five years we’ve battled Basil downy mildew in our garden. It’s been a race to harvest enough basil for pesto before the plants go yellow from the disease. So this year I was thrilled to see that Johnny’s Seeds offered two of the disease-resistant varieties that have been developed by the researchers at Rutgers University in New Jersey.

I ordered seeds for Rutgers Obsession and Rutgers Devotion and started some inside this spring. They grew well, and we not only planted those early starts in our gardens, but we also direct-sowed the rest of the seeds in the garden.

All I can say is WOW! No sign of downy mildew, even into August.  We’ve harvested twice already and the plants keep coming back with new, strong growth.

A Word to the Wise:  So far I haven’t seen these varieties in the garden centers, but this herb is really easy to grow from seed. If you’ve had problems with downy mildew on your basil in the past, be sure to order seeds for the Rutgers varieties.

Our Rutgers basil plants are as clean and disease free as they were in early June.

We’ve harvested the top 6 to 8 inches off these plants and they’ve grown back already, a mere two weeks later.

Here is some of the basil we made into pesto. We freeze patties of pesto every year so that we can have that fresh basil flavor for pasta or to add to any sauce etc through the winter. In the past, when the plants got infected with downy mildew, over half of what we picked wouldn’t be useable. This year all but the stems went into the pesto, with no waste or yellowed leaves! Thanks, Rutgers! 

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