Check out the How to Grow Basil Infographic below.
If you like using fresh herbs in the kitchen, then you should definitely add basil to your herb garden! This wonderful culinary herb is found in a variety of cuisines, and most notably Italian dishes. But not only is basil delicious, it is a powerful medicinal plant as well. For example, basil helps with heart health, skin health, the immune system, arthritis, and the gastrointestinal tract. Learning how to grow basil will help you ensure you always have it on hand.
How to Grow Basil
Following is a video from Experiential Gardener about how to grow basil, as well as how to maintain and harvest it. It’s a great video that shows you everything you need to know about basil, starting from the garden and ending in the kitchen!
Basil is an annual, so it has to be planted by seeds. Rebecca suggests planting your seeds in spring after the first frost, or you can start them indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the first frost is expected. You can plant the seeds directly in the ground or in pots. Basil loves full sun and rich soil and doesn’t tolerate drought very well.
Rebecca then provided the following steps on how to grow basil:
- Sprinkle the seeds on the ground (do not bury too deeply)
- Firm them down with your hand
- Put another thin layer of soil over the seeds
- Firm them down with your hand again
- Water gently
- Keep them in a sunny place and make sure the soil is moist
After planting, basil seeds will emerge in 5 to 8 days. You can then transfer the new plants into pots or directly into the ground. Rebecca finds that the germination rate increases when they are planted in pots, which is a great way to get even more basil for your buck. If you choose to transfer the basil plants into pots, make sure it is in a 10 inch or larger pot with a hole in the bottom.
As shown in the video, a dinner fork is a great tool to transfer your plants. Stick it in the ground and gently put the fork in about one inch away from the plant, and then put your fingers around the soil of the plant, and pull up. Then you will see the basil plant easily pull away from the roots of the others.
Then, dig a 4 inch deep hole in the soil. Place more fresh and rich soil in the hole. Place the plant in the hole and add more rich soil around it to firm it up.
How to Harvest Basil
Now that you’ve learned how to grow basil, you will want to ensure you also know how to harvest it so as to best maintain it. Rebecca provided the following tips when harvesting basil:
- When the plant gets around 8 inches tall, you can start picking leaves
- Pick leaves as you need them
- Cut leaves off pretty often so the plant gets bushier
- When you see flowers start to bloom, pinch them off very soon
- Wash the basil plants off, put them in pots of water on the window sill. That way they are right there and ready for cooking!
Photo courtesy of SOMMAI, freedigitalphotos.net
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