Here’s a few hints to grow that awesome basil your inner-chef has been craving!
Choose where you are going to plant it, carefully
Basil needs 6 to 8 hours of sun, but it benefits from afternoon shade so a south and southwest planting is ideal. Never plant if there is frost risk in the spring, as Basil is very frost sensitive. Summer planting is ok. Plant seeds/seedlings in the ground 1/4-inch deep in a well-drained location. Read tag for proper distancing, which is usually 12 to 18 inches apart. Basic loves rich, moist, well-drained soil. In dry summer periods, water often. When planting, add plenty of organic compost to give it that extra boost.
If planting in a container use a larger pot than you think so that the soil doesn’t dry out quickly in the hot weather. Mulch on the surface of the soil will help keep the soil moist between watering.
Threats to basil growing
Basil can be threatened by aphids, beetles, or slugs, but the biggest threat is poor drainage. To avoid root rot, plant in a well-drained location, but be careful not to let it dry or the growth will be stunted.
Tips for growing great basil
Fertilize about once a month for best results.
As the summer progresses, basil will want to bloom. Pinch off the bloom stems as they appear to help the plant continue to grow. Be careful not to cut the woody part of the stem, or the plant won’t sprout back.
Try not to get water on your leaves when you water your plants. Bottom watering is best with basil. This prevents leaves from rotting or creating harmful mildew.
Harvest the basil leaves by pinching them from the stems after that plant has reached a height of 6 to 8 inches. Pinch near the end of the stem to encourage new leaf production. Always harvest all of your basil at the first prediction of frost as the first frost will quickly turn the plant black. By the same logic, never store fresh leaves in the refrigerator as it will turn the leaves brown. To store your harvested basil most efficiently, either completely freeze or dry the leaves.
If pruned regularly, six basil plants can produce 2 to 3 cups of leaves per week.
Does the body good!
It’s not just a tasty garnish! Basil is an excellent source of vitamin K and manganese, a very good source of copper, vitamin A (in the form of carotenoids such as beta-carotene), and vitamin C, and a good source of calcium, iron, folate, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids. Basil is most pungent when it is fresh, so eat up!
Growing food is the best.