Growing basil is a good way to get started for novice gardeners using seeds, seedlings or cuttings from basil plants. Basil is also a great medicinal herb for those interested in creating a medicinal herb garden.
Right Weather And Soil For Growing Basil
Basil plants, members of the mint family require 6-8 hours of sunlight daily. They can be grown outdoors once the daytime temperatures are in the 70s°F and night temperatures are above 50°F. While planting basil one should remember it is sensitive to frost and hence it should be sown in late March, after all danger of frost has passed. Growing basil indoors can happen at any time of the year, provided the basil plants receive adequate natural or artificial light.
To grow basil, the soil must be moist, water retentive and with good air circulation. The pH of the soil should be at least 6.0 and below 7.5 and it can be maintained by using an organic fertilizer. While growing basil plants in pots, adequate drainage should be allowed to take place from the base of the pot.
Care For Growing Basil Plants
Sow the basil seeds thinly, cover with compost and water regularly, ensuring water reaches the base of the growing basil plants. While growing basil, the soil should be soggy but excess water should be drained off. How to plant basil that receives adequate moisture and sunlight will depend on how well the basil plants are spread out as they generally bush out. Basil seeds germinate in about 1-2 weeks time. Harvest time is approximately 8-9 weeks from sowing. When the growing basil plants reach 6″ in height, the top sets of leaves should be pinched off. This ensures the longevity of the basil plants. Any flowers that appear should also be pinched out so that leaf production is favored.
How To Plant Basil Free Of Pests
While growing basil indoors one should look out for aphids, which can be rinsed off with a garden hose or controlled better with insecticidal soap. Beetles and slugs commonly affect growing basil plants outdoors, tearing holes in leaves. They should be handpicked and destroyed. Basil plants grown in contaminated soil, equipment or seed may suffer from fusarium wilt. Sudden wilting and leaf drop are the symptoms experienced. Damping off is another disease caused by high humidity and poor air circulation. These infected plants must be immediately removed.
Using The Growing Basil Plants
Basil leaves can be pinched out of the growing basil plants without affecting the plant in any way. Avoid cutting whole stems. These leaves, once dried can be frozen and stored for a few weeks. Basil is usually added at the end of cooking for its fresh taste and color. It is also used fresh in sandwiches, salads and pasta.
With basil being not only a great herb to flavor food with but also a blood pressure reducing agent, growing basil is all the more necessary for its many purposes. Basil plants are a great addition for a herb garden at home.
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