Basil is the perfect herb to sprinkle liberally on caprese salads, add to summer cocktails, and topping on homemade pizzas. In fact, did you know that it is much cheaper to grow your own leaves than to buy them at the supermarket? Plus, there’s nothing more aromatic than freshly cut twigs two seconds ago! convinced? If so, here’s how to successfully grow basil indoors and outdoors.
Basil cultivation in pots and in the ground
The fresh, spicy, clove-scented flavor of basil is a natural addition to many dishes. A single, well-trimmed plant will provide you with about a half cup of leaves per week. Even if you have limited space, just find a sunny windowsill, fill a container with well-drained soil, and you’re good to go.
The most common basil crop is definitely tall green basil, but there are other culinary options as well, such as Thai, lemon, and cinnamon. One of the main differences between Ocimum basilicum and other herbs is the fact that it is a tender annual. The latter is very sensitive to cold, so plant it in the spring! May is the best time to start growing basil!
Basil is a wonderful addition to a container herb garden. Thrives in well-drained soil, placed in a sunny window. In a larger garden, plant basil among your tomatoes. It’s a unique ingredient for your next summer salad.
Basil is easy to grow from seed and germinates relatively quickly. Plant the seeds about six weeks before the last frost. Grass is very sensitive to cold, so whether you’re transplanting seedlings from indoors or have seedlings in the ground, monitor early spring temperatures and cover if necessary. If you are planting a cutting or transplanting a seedling or smaller plant, make sure the soil temperature is at least 21°C.
In addition to growing basil from seed, you can also use a cutting. It takes root easily when placed in water. Choose a 10 cm section of basil that has not yet flowered. Roots will form in a week. Transplant basil directly into the garden or into a container as soon as a healthy root system is visible.
Everything you need to know about growing basil
Basil does best in well-drained, moist, pH-neutral soil. Add rich compost to the soil early in the season. It is not necessary to amend much more soil. In fact, if it is too rich, the plant loses some of its flavor intensity.
Fresh basil grows well in warm environments that receive about six hours of sunlight per day. The best plants actually grow in an east-facing area that doesn’t get the scorching midday rays.
Water the basil when the soil feels dry to the touch, doing your best to moisten the plant at its base and not its leaves.
Depending on the variety, basil can reach a height of 30 to 60 cm. Place the plants at a distance of 30 to 40 cm. If you’re limited by space or only grow in containers, consider holy basil, which tends to form a small mound.
Plant basil among other herbs and vegetables with similar lighting and watering needs, such as tomatoes or parsley. Some even say that tomatoes taste better when they are near this herb. Also plant basil alongside chamomile, lettuce, bell peppers, and oregano. Finally, keep some flower pots on your porch or patio to deter mosquitoes.
Basil is an herb that can be harvested at will. You can only harvest as much as you need, or if you have a large amount on hand, you can harvest a massive amount. Harvest basil as you would mint, cutting off a stem just above the point where two large leaves meet. Regular trimming will result in a rounder, less gigantic plant.
It is always best to harvest basil before the plant flowers. If you don’t have time to pick the leaves, simply pinch off the flowering part. The flowers are edible, but if you pull them off, the plant can now direct its energy into growing tasty leaves. Also be sure to only harvest 2/3 of the entire plant, so it can continue to grow.