Popular in Italian dishes, learning how to grow basil with our step-by-step guide could be your new favourite hobby!
Basil is a popular culinary herb and commonly used on pizza, in pasta sauces, salads, and Thai curries. Growing basil is such a quick and easy process, not to mention, this hardy herb can be grown all year round.
Basil is technically known as Ocimum Basiilicium and can be grown indoors and outdoors very quickly. An interesting thing about basil is its utilization in traditional medicine.
All it takes is 3 to 4 weeks for you to see returns from your basil plant investment. The short turnaround time makes it an excellent choice for gardening beginners and basil is also a natural source of antioxidants and nutraceuticals.
How To Plant Basil
Growing basil from seeds requires well-drained and fertile soil. It is advisable to grow basil in pots to get a higher-quality herb. So, start by adding moist peat-free soil-based compost in the pot.
Now, add basil seeds to each pot and place a few seeds in the centre. Make sure you cover the seeds with ¼ inch of dry seed starter mix. It is also a good idea to mist your basil seeds with water for proper mixing.
The seedlings should propagate within around two weeks. While growing basil in pots, the outside temperature required is approximately 20°C. Make sure your pot is placed in a sheltered position because they grow best under intermittent light stress.
However, when the temperatures start to dip in the autumn season, you should bring a few plants back indoors to provide a fresh supply of leaves in the winter period.
How To Care for Basil Plants
Basil needs to be protected against wind and frost, outdoors. this can be done with frost jackets, sticks for them to wrap around and many other innovative ideas.
Make sure you water your plants regularly, as basil likes to stay moist. Your goal should be to avoid the drying out of the soil.
Basil needs very little to no fertilisation. In fact, too much fertiliser can leave you with bland leaves that provide very little flavour upon harvest.
How To Harvest Basil
Basil can be harvested throughout the year, and they don’t need a specific timings. You should ideally remove ⅓ of the leaves every month to encourage new growth.
Pick the leaves and tops of basil to use them fresh. Harvesting it in the morning allows get the juiciest leaves before they start to droop throughout the day.
Additionally, it would help if you did not wash the leaves until you are going to use them because they will turn slimy.
You should now have a huge harvest of basil just waiting to be used, and what better way to use them than by trying out these stunning recipe ideas!
Tips & Common Problems
Planting basil with tomatoes may seem strange but this is a great technique. Both crops will taste better for you doing this and they are great examples of companion planting.
Pinch leaves from the tips of your basil as soon as the plant has two sets of true leaves. This encourages your basil to grow full and bushy.
Slugs and snails feed on the young seedlings and you’ll see the tell tale slime trail on the soil around your crop. Controls include beer traps, sawdust barriers, copper tape or biological controls.