Follow our quick guide to grow Basil and start your own kitchen garden. Or just grow one baby plant to keep your kitchen green.
Growing up I would look up to real cooks that have an island kitchen and lots of fresh herbs to cook with. I used to buy fresh herbs and use them immediately, before they turn grey and die. Not until recent years we actually started planting kitchen herbs from seeds and enjoying the real flavor of fresh cut herbs. It’s like you finally understand why people call them aromatic herbs.
Basil is an annual or perennial culinary herb used in kitchens worldwide. It originates in tropical regions from central Africa to Southwest Asia and there are more than 30 types of Basil. The most common one is the Sweet Basil which is the main ingredient of the beloved Italian pesto sauce.
Nowadays you can find it in the supermarket as seeds, dried basil, a bunch of fresh one or in a pot. I really prefer to have fresh basil all year long as it has a more intense flavor, so I am growing my own basil from seeds. I tried the pot one from the supermarket but not always you can find one which will survive more than a few weeks. It’s really simple to grow your own one and you have the nice feeling of joy when you see it going from seed to a nice bush of basil.
The steps for growing Basil yourself are simple:
- If you want your plant to thrive take a pot of around 2 gallons and 10 inches deep (9 liters and 25 cm deep).
- Add high quality soil and you can mix it with fertilizer at the beginning. Make sure your soil doesn’t have fertilizer already in it.
- Plant the basil seed at ¼” deep. It will need sun light to germinate so be sure to place the pot in a sunny spot. With a temperature around 70 F (21 C) it should germinate in 5 – 10 days.
If you choose a larger pot you can plant multiple types of basil together. It’s a plant that loves sun, so you must find for it a spot where it can get 6 – 8 hours of sun daily. If you live in a very warm place, find a place where it can have shade in the afternoon.
Watering the basil is also important. You don’t have to let the soil dry, but also excessive watering will be bad for your plant. Just be sure that the soil is not feeling dry when you put your finger on it. If the bottom leaves are becoming yellowish it means that the plant is stressed. It needs less water, or less or more fertilizer.
For obtaining a bush of basil and not just a single tall plant, you have to pinch your plant. Pinch it as soon as it reach 4 inch (10 cm) in height by taking off the top leaves. Once a stem produce flowers it will stop producing new leaves and the steam will become woody. As only the flower stem is affected you can pinch it or leave the flower on it as the other stems will produce leaves. The flower stem will produce seeds that can be used next year.
Growing plant is no easy job, from waiting the seeds to sprout, to provide them with the best sun/shade/water/humidity ratio and also keep them away from diseases and pests. But is it worthy? Yes! Follow our quick guide to grow basil and let us know how it works for you.
Did you knew there are 15 types of basil that you can grow? We are so used to the sweet basil that we don’t think too much about what else could we grow. Check out this article with 15 types of basil from How to Culinary Herb Garden.
We planted some herbs in February, we planted the seeds in small pots and made some transparent labels from plastic, painted with acril, so it’s waterproof.
I am using the basil in all kind of recipes that you can find on the blog. You can also store it as a pesto by using my recipe.
How about give it a chance and have it fresh in your kitchen? Don’t forget to come back and share your Basil pictures with me.
Check out other articles in homesteading: Grow your own Carolina Reaper Peppers – hottest chili in the world!