What is your favorite herb to use when cooking? What is an absolute must have on almost every dish? Well, if you go through a dozen of recipes on the internet, you will find that basil is a part of almost each and every single one of them. But what makes basil so special. Well, it is a fragrant herb, which brings a unique taste to your meal, especially when fresh. Well, we are here to tell you that you can have excess to fresh basil at all times, because you can actually grow it at home. That is why, we have prepared a full guide on how to harvest basil and how to take care of this precious herb in your own home. You don’t even need a garden!
Basil is a culinary herb of the Mints family. It comes from parts of central Africa and Southeast Asia. There are a lot of varieties. The most common one is Genovese basil, also known as sweet basil. Other types include lemon basil, Thai basil and holy basil. Most types are annual plants, while some are considered perennial. They are grown in warm, tropical climates. The height of the plant can reach 1.5 inches. The leaves are green and ovate, although different in size. They are used as culinary herbs all over the world for their rich flavour and fragrance.
Try and grow basil at home so that you have access to this fragrant herb all the time
How to grow basil?
The most common type of basil grown indoors is the Genovese. Nowadays, however, you can find different kinds, all of which can be grown indoors. The first thing you need to know is that basil doesn’t like cold, that is why the perfect time to plant it is around May.
What kind of soil do you need to use?
Basil is pretty easy to grow because it doesn’t need a soil that is too rich. All you need to do is keep the soil moist and well drained. Just add a rich compost at the beginning of the season and let the plant do its magic the rest of the year.
You don’t need rich soil to grow basil
Light and placement
The perfect condition for basil to grow is an area where there is sun about six hours each day. If you can, place the plant somewhere with indirect sunlight especially if you live some place where the temperatures are very high and there is scorching sun. It will be too much for the plant to survive.
How to water basil?
As we have already said it is preferable to have moist soil. That is exactly why you need to water the basil as soon as the soil feels dry to the touch. It is very important, however, to make sure that you water the plant at the base without wetting the leaves.
You can plant basil in a larger pot along with other herbs
How to harvest basil?
Basil is the kind of plant you can just pick from and use whenever you need it. Just pick as much as you need leaf by leaf and let the rest of it grow. Another option is to harvest more and keep it in the freezer for example. All you need to do is snip the stem above the point where two large leaves meat. If you do this regularly the plant will have a more rounded look. Furthermore, another option is to harvest the leaves and then let them dry. That way you will have access to the herb all year long, even when it is not producing. Just keep it in a small herb jar so that it doesn’t get moist.
Take as much as you need and let the rest grow
How to harvest basil after it flowers?
Basil has flowers. Many of you probably didn’t know that. The interesting thing is that the flowers are actually edible but very few people use them. Once the flowers are out, that means that the stem has stopped growing. What you can do is pinch off the flower, so that the plant can keep growing leaves. Just be sure to harvest up to 2/3 of the plant, otherwise it may not keep producing.
Pinch off the flowers at the top to allow the plant to keep growing and producing leaves
Basil can be planted while it is still very small
Don’t overdo it with the soil, because when it is too rich the basil looses some of its fragrance
Plant in a nice pot so that you can use it as a part of the decor as well
The leaves vary in size, but usually when they get to the size shown below, they are ready for harvest
Now that you know how to harvest basil it is time to start planting