One our favorite hardy leafy herbs, basil is one of the most ubiquitous herbs to have around the kitchen. Having some fresh basil around makes for a perfect final touch to pasta, salad, and many other dishes. It’s also super easy to make a perfect pesto sauce, delicious with chicken and pasta alike.
Grow basil in a small to medium sized pot, sprinkling seeds thinly (about 10-15 per pot) and covering with a fine layer of soil. Sow the seeds in spring by starting off the seedlings on a warm kitchen ledge indoors or a warm, sheltered, and sunny spot outdoors. Make sure temperatures have reached 15°C before planting outdoors, as basil is a warm weather herb. Seeds should sprout in 5-10 days.
After about five weeks your seedlings should be ready to be transferred into individual pots.
To eliminate the guesswork in selecting the right size containers for your plants, we’ve put together a list of commonly grown herbs, veggies, fruit and flowers along with the minimum pot sizes required by each. .
Basil tends to dry out, and thrives in a humid environment; so make sure to keep it well watered. It is best to water in the morning, and never during the sunniest part of the day, as water droplets on the leaves can magnify the sun’s rays and lead to damage.
Watering from the base is best, as it encourages the roots to grow down deep into the soil to keep the plant moist.
Where Can I Grow It?
Your basil can be left indoors if you have a spot with at least 6 hours of sun, or all summer planted outside. If temperatures drop below 5°c, Basil should be brought inside.
For a bushier plant, pinch out the growing tips regularly once the plant is at least 15 cm tall, just above where a set of leaves meets the stem. This encourages more tender growth and pulls out the best flavor.
Basil comes in many varieties so you can experiment and see which ones you like best. Sweet basil is the most common, and Genovese makes for a great pesto.
Grow basil together with tomatoes, peppers, oregano, petunias, or grapes for beneficial effects. It is said that when planted along with basil, the tomatoes produced by the tomato plant have an improved flavor.