Basil is such a versatile and great cooking herb! No matter what climate you live in, you can grow basil really easily!
Put it in your favourite dishes, add a sprig to decorate your delicious meals and spice up your kitchen with an attractive and flourishing basil plant!
If you're in two minds as to whether to grow basil at home or not, then read on!:
- Basil is without doubt one of the best cooking herbs there are! Think Thai green curry, chicken salads and fresh tomatoes tousled with basil leaves... Not forgetting fresh pesto! Basil has limitless uses in some of the most delicious recipes!
- Basil gives off such a nice, sweet smell as you brush by its leaves in the garden. Or if you grow it in your kitchen, it will give off a subtle, sweet fragrance that will fill your kitchen.
- One other thing - if you plan on growing your basil outdoors there is another advantage to basil. It repels pests and fruit flies! The strong scent masks the scents of your more tasty plants.
- Basil simply looks good! You can find basil varieties that come in all kinds of shapes and colours. From spiky flowers to tightly shaped ball, to the lovely purple flowers of the opal variety..
- Also, if your interested, basil is also used for traditional medical purposes.
From here on is a guide to getting your new basil plants thriving...
Try to pick a sunny windowsill or the warmest spot in your garden, as basil doesn't thrive when too cold! Now you could either use a pack of seeds, or for preference you could, use a box of seedlings. Alternatively, if you come across a plant in the wild or in a firend's garden you could take a small cutting. Be careful though, if your going to plant the tiny basil seeds watch out that the weeds don't grow over the top of them as they can take a few weeks to germinate! To take a cutting from another plant merely nip the top off of any strong and bushy plant at any point in the year, remove all of the larger leaves save the ones near the top, and go ahead and plant it in a pot. Now you can plant it out, although if your weather is usually very hot you should try and keep it wet and in the shade, while it takes root. Swap it to a bigger pot or into the garden when you like, as long as it has started to grow.
As is to be expected the more fertile and rich the soil, the bigger and tastier the leaves will be. You don't have to worry about overfeeding basil, as the leaves will be less fragrant if you don't give it enough. Feeding basil food scraps or sprays of miracle grow etc will make sure that it continually produces big, tasty leaves.
As a guide - the more leaves you eat, the more you should feed your basil! You probably already know that the majority of other cooking herbs thrive only when you treat them harshly. If you pamper them they lose their flavour. Luckily, not so for basil. You just can't give basil enough! It will use up as much food as you can give it! Animal manure is great stuff to feed your basil plant, as well as cooking scraps, compost and garden waste like mulch. Or anything really. In general basil tastes the best the more food it gets.
Don't be put off if your soil is not the best quality. Basil has a vigorous root system and will most likely thrive. The plant will send out its roots deep enough that it ought to find enough nutrients without a problem. So you shouldn't have a problem growing great basil even in poor soil. It also does quite well in shady areas with not a great deal of water. If you can give it lots of sun though, it will flourish and have a strong tasty flavour
Thanks very much for reading, I wish you success with your home herb garden!
Alex Jollands is a herb gardening enthusiast, and co-owner of the extremely popular website http://www.homeherbgardens.info - a free resource for all you're herb gardening needs.
Feel free to check it out.
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