How to Grow Basil

Growing Basil - GrowOrganic Peaceful Valley - YouTube

What is it?

It is an annual herb belonging to the mint family, Lamiaceae (Labiatae) and like others in this family, basil can be identified by its square, hairy stems. Basil is native to India and Asia having been cultivated there for more than 5,000 years. It is grown as a perennial in tropical climates.

Basil is eaten for its rich and spicy, peppery flavor with a trace of mint and clove.

There are over 40 known varieties of basil of which Ocimum basilicum or Sweet Basil is the most commonly known and grown. Ocimum is from a Greek verb that means "to be fragrant."

The foliage is easily bruised; just brushing against its foliage releases spicy fragrance.

Varieties can grow to a height of 2 1/2 feet and are about as wide. Foliage colors range from pale to deep green, vivid purple and even purple laced with yellow. Flowers appear in summer as whorls on the ends of branches and are either white or lavender.

How to grow?

Basil is surprisingly easy to grow. It is easily grown from seed regardless of whether it is started indoors or broadcast outside in the garden after the danger of frost has passed. Basil is very tender and sensitive to frost injury.

For indoor culture, cover seeds no more than twice the size of the seed. Space seeds 1/2 inch apart. Once germination begins (after 5-7 days), the plantlets must be kept warm at 70 degrees F. When seedlings have at least 2 pairs of true leaves, transplant them to 2 inch pots.

Basils grow best in a sunny location and need a well-drained, rich soil. Plants started indoors and hardened off in May can be planted outside to their permanent location and spaced about 12 inches apart. Fertilize basil sparingly as this decreases the fragrant oils.

To encourage a bushy plant and maximize production, prune the basil plant. Pinch off the flower buds when they emerge. Basil has to be pruned every 2-3 weeks.

Here is a list of the best plants to grow indoors under lights in the winter:

- leafy vegetables such lettuce, spinach, chard
- herbs such as basil, oregano and parsley

Everything You Need to Know About Growing Basil - from Burpee Gardens


Growing, Selecting And Using Basil, HYG-1644-94
Basil - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Growing All Types of Basil Everywhere: All Season Long! The Rusted Vegetable Garden
Medicinal Plants in Permaculture: Basil

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