Herb of the Month: Basil Growing Tips

basil 2

I sort of have a soft spot for basil. When I first got on this whole herb gardening kick, I planted one pot with 3 different types of seeds and basil was among them. Now basil is the only one that has survived and it is flourishing. However, do to my impatience while waiting for it to grow, I decided to buy a basil plant. Now the two share a pot in happiness each giving me a plentiful supply of this delicious and useful herb.

Basil is a pretty easy herb to grow and I highly recommend it for those who are just starting off. It is an annual and its biggest enemy is the cold. Warmth and sunshine are two of basil’s best friends, though you can keep it alive for a short time indoors.

basil 1

Needs:

  • Warm weather
  • 6-8 hours of sun
  • Well-drained soil
  • pH of 6 to 7
  • Lots of water

Basil does well in  10-16″ pot and in the group should be planted at least 6″ apart. Although basil likes moist and fertile soil, it despises cold, soggy soil so you can let it dry out ever so slightly in between watering. Your plants should not get pests if they are healthy so keep an eye on droopy or brown leaves. This is a sure sign your basil isn’t happy. If the leaves just started to droop, don’t freak out! They probably just are a little thirsty.

basil 4

Growing basil from seed:

As already stated, basil plants don’t like the cold so their seeds don’t either. While stores will put seeds on sale early, make sure you don’t plant them before your nighttime temperature is consistently above 50 degrees. Make sure there isn’t going to be tons of rain as well. Start the seeds indoors just before the last frost–if you try sooner than this your plant will be at risk for being weak and disease-prone. Keep them near a sun-drenched window that is warm. At the start of summer, move them outdoors. As soon as you can, start to prune the plant to promote bushy growth and make sure to continue to pinch off the flowers.

basil 3

Tips:

  • Prune frequently to promote growth. Start at the top. Pinch of the flowers in order to continue for the leaves to keep their potency and to prevent the basil from being too focused on reproducing.
  • Can fertilize slightly with seaweed and kelp emulsion or a slow-release organic fertilizer monthly. Seaweed fertilizer can also help keep pests away.
  • There needs to be a sufficient number of holes in your container to allow adequate drainage.
  • Make sure the pot is big enough for their roots. If your basil starts to look yellow, leggy, or woody, it could be because their roots are crowded.
  • Don’t forget basil are annuals which mean they can get old. Don’t be discouraged if you have to replace your basil!
  • You can place them with tomatoes to help both of them grow.

 

Do you have any tips for growing basil? Please share below in the comment section!

 

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