Basil: The King of Herbs
You probably know why basil is often called the king of herbs. One reason is because basil is one of most sought herbs in cooking.
If you want a dash of kitchen magic, then the aroma and taste of basil can instantly add that extra flavor to your dish.
You can find a basil recipe in almost every cuisine in the world–from salad recipes, pastas to main course. Whether it be an herb or a seed, fresh or dried, basil is definitely a must-have herb in your kitchen, making growing basil a great idea for your herb garden. Read on for our full guide on how to grow basil in your own garden.
Growing basil does not require tedious work. Enough sunshine and an adequate temperature will keep it happy. Warmer areas are the basil’s best friend. Make sure that the plant receives full sun or 6 to 8 hours of sunlight every day.
If you are growing your basil indoors, there are few tips that you have to keep in mind:
- Scatter five seeds in each pot filled with moist compost. You can use a shallow dish or a 3-inch pot.
- Keep the soil moist at all times, but make sure not to let the seeds stand in wet soil.
- A line of coarse gravel or an organic mulch is advised if necessary.
- Place the pot in a sunny location, preferably near your windowsill. In two weeks, your basil can be transplanted to its final location or separate pot.
Growing basil outdoors has its own set of rules. Read on.
- Check your soil for bugs and weed. Avoid areas that are exposed to cold winds as this will hinder the development of your herb.
- Moist soil is recommended. Just take note that the soil must not be too soggy.
- Give your Basil enough room to grow. Space the plants at least 10cm apart.
- Slugs will be your greatest enemy in growing your basil. A chemical-free fertilizer will get rid of those pests for you. Do this at least once a month.
- In approximately 10 weeks, you can harvest your basil.
Once the plant is about 10cm long, pinching or cutting can be done. However, do not cut the whole stem, as it will hinder, or worse, stop the development of the herb. When harvesting basil, try to get a few leaves from each plant, not just on one plant. This will let your Basil plants survive longer. Make sure that you take out all the flowers to ensure all the nutrients and growth will be focused on the leaves. Moreover, picking basil leaves in longer intervals will promote longer life span for the plant.
Basil can grow the whole year round. Just make sure to transplant the plant back indoors when the cold seasons come. Freezing the leaves once you harvested them will ensure freshness. Cut the stem on the soil level. You may either use a dehydrator to dry up basil leaves or simply hang dried leaves on a warm and dry place. You can store your Basil up to 12 months.
The most common varieties of Basil are the Sweet Basil, Purple Basil and Lemon Basil. Basil is one of the easiest herbs to grow and any novice can do it. To stress out again, plenty of sunshine and moisture is the secret to healthy Basil.
Basil has been proven to repel flies, cockroaches and mosquitoes. It is handy when you place it in your kitchen. This is one of the reasons why most chefs keep a growing basil plant in their kitchen.