Basil is pretty easy to grow. Basil will flourish in the right conditions in your herb garden, or container on the kitchen windowsill.
Where Can I Plant Basil?
- Plant basil in a container on your veranda
- Plant basil in well-drained soil on a sunny windowsill.
- Plant basil in a larger garden amongst your tomatoes.
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How to Grow Basil
You can grow basil by planting seeds or by buying plants from a nursery.
How to Propagate Basil
Supermarket-bought basil (with roots) can also be replanted, although you may struggle to grow it successfully. Supermarket basil is often hydroponically grown and only has water roots. The secret to having these plants grow is to keep them in shade and very well-watered.
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Once they have had a chance to grow soil roots, you can start to harden them off for planting in the garden. Gradually decrease the amount of water you give them. Then adjust them to some sun, an hour at a time to see how they react.
You can propagate basil from cuttings too. This video below shows you how it’s done.
If you’re growing basil from seed, plant them in well-draining soil. You can plant them straight in the garden (protect from predators if necessary) or start them in seedling trays. Basil does not tolerate cold temperatures, so time your planting for the warm season.
Tips for Growing Basil
- Suitable for indoor/outdoor pots and the garden
- Plant at least 6 plants altogether, they like company
- No cold toes
- Well-drained, fertile soil
- Lots of filtered sun
- Adequate water
How to Harvest Basil
Harvesting basil needs careful handling. Basil has soft, velvety leaves that are easily damaged during harvest. This can cause the leaf to tear or bruise (resulting in those ugly brown spots you may have seen).
To harvest basil, use sharp scissors and snip the stems above the second last set of leaves from the bottom of the plant. The remaining leaves will soon shoot away for the next harvest.
You can harvest a few sprigs this way, as often as you need basil. Make sure to leave one-third of the plant untouched so it can regrow.
Basil plants can have a short lifespan. Give them adequate water and harvest regularly to encourage your plants to keep producing leaves.
Do not allow your basil plant to flower unless you want seeds for next year’s plants. This helps leaves to keep their full flavor.
Key Points for Harvesting Basil
- Handle basil leaves with care
- Use sharp scissors
- Only harvest two-thirds of the plant at a time
- Do not allow to flower
How to Keep and Store Your Basil Harvest
- Place stems in a glass jar of water
- Cover with a plastic bag
- Leave on your kitchen bench at room temperature
- Change water in the jar every few days
- Do not store in the fridge as cold makes the leaves go brown (remember basil does not like cold)
How to Use Your Basil Harvest
- Basil looks beautiful and decorative like a bunch of flowers
- Basil pesto is the best
- Basil smells wonderful
- Basil makes any tomato-based dish taste great
- Basil is pungent and edgy in salads
- Basil gives party drinks a zing
- Basil gives an exotic twist to sweets
- Basil is essential for pizzas!
Buy at least 6 basil plants and you will soon have a harvest that will last all summer.