Basil is one of those herbs that as soon a spring arrives our seeds are sown. It is the most used herb in our garden and goes so well with many things from bruschetta, tomato sauce, pesto and salads. Basil is a easy herb to grow and if your getting into growing herbs or gardening, I think basil is definitely a great herb to start of growing.
Basil comes in many different colours, flavours and varieties. We have grown a few different varieties over the years but are favourite would have to be the sweet basil. The other varieties we have grown are thai basil, lettuce leaf basil, lemon basil, sweet basil, freddy basil and opal basil.
When to Plant Basil Seeds
Basil loves the warmth, so we plant our seeds in late winter in seedling trays, so they are ready for transplanting in early spring. If you have frosts in your area, don’t plant your seedlings into the garden until your past your last frost, for us that is mid-September.
How to Sow Basil Seeds
Basil seeds can be direct sown or sown into seedling trays, which is what we do. We do this so we can control the environment as we like to sow our basil seeds early when it’s still cold, so they are ready for once spring arrives. Basil seeds germinate best when soil temperatures are between 18 to 35 degrees Celsius and take between 5-10 days to germinate.
Where to Plant Basil Seedlings
Basil loves the warmth, however we find in the heat of summer our basil leaves burn, so we prefer the plant them at the base of other plants which provides them with shade. Before planting our basil, we like to prepare the garden bed with some home-made compost, manure, blood and bone, organic slow release fertilser and a good layer of mulch to keep the water in and soil insulated.
How to Care for Basil Plants
Basil is a great herb to start your herb gardening off with as they are easy to grow, but there are few things you can do to extend the plants life and get more out of your plants. When your basil plant are about 10cm in height, pinch the growing tips out of them, this creates a bushier plant with more basil leaves.
Remove flowers off before they flower. If the plant is left to go to flower, it will stop growing and die as it sees this as the end of the cycle as it has flowered and produce seed for the next generation of plants
How to Pick Basil from your Garden
To harvest your basil, we like to pick all the tips out of our basil. This does 2 things it gives you nice fresh young basil and also stops the plant from going leggy. When it’s coming closer to winter we harvest the whole plant by cutting it off at the ground and either remove the leaves for making into a pesto or we hang the whole plant to dry.
Common Problems with Growing Basil
Basil is easy to grow and tough, but like everything can get pests and diseases. We have only had issues with snails and slugs.
Snails and Slugs
Snails and slugs are the biggest problem we have in our garden, and they love to eat new tender seedlings and tender plants. We find the best way is to remove them and dispose of them. If your struggling to control your snails and slugs here is how we control them.
Here are some other problems you may come across, but we haven’t yet
This will cause the leaves to go black and look wilted. To prevent don’t plant your seedling till after your frost have passed and if you have late frost cover your plants to protect them. If your basil plants get frost damage, prune off the damaged foliage and water with a seaweed solution to give the plant some energy to grow.
This is when a plant goes to seed early in its life, it is usually caused by stress. When planting your seedlings out make sure there is no extreme weather event happening, mulch all plants and deep water.
This is a sap sucking little white fly which you will find on the underside of leaves. When you touch the plant, they will swarm into clouds. If caught early they can be control by spraying them off with a hose or if they are they’re in larger amount you can spray with a horticultural oil or potassium soap spray. Plants which are infested with white fly should be destroyed.
9 Plants that Grow Well with Basil
We plant basil here there and every where in the garden. Here are the 9 plants we plant with our basil.