Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Growing Basil



I love to grow basil.  The Italian Large Leaf variety of basil to be exact.  This variety of basil has such a nice aroma to it, you can almost smell the mozzarella cheese, home grown tomatoes and olive oil you can add to your basil for a nice summer dish.

Just as good as the smell of fresh basil, is how easy basil is to grow at home.  Basil is one of those plants that can be grown in your backyard vegetable garden or in pots, if limited space is an issue.  Either way, your basil will grow fine.  The downfall of basil (as if basil really had any), is that basil loves heat.  Even the slightest cooler temperatures (under 50 degrees Fahrenheit), may make your basil fall over and begin to wilt.

The upside of your basil, because basil loves heat, your basil will do very well in the summertime.  With your basil’s quick to maturity growing capabilities, you can be enjoying fresh basil in just a few weeks.

Basil seeds are fairly small and while you can plant your basil seeds up to a quarter of an inch deep, all you really need to do is lightly cover your basil seeds with some soil.  

If you are going to start your basil seeds indoors, just make sure your basil seeds, when planted, are placed in a warm location and receive at least 5 hours of sunlight daily.  If you decide to sow your basil seeds directly outdoors, you want to make sure that temperatures remain above 50 degrees, or otherwise cover your basil with a cloche, row cover etc.

The Italian Large Leaf variety basil, when given the room, will grow very large.  So make sure you space out your basil at least eight inches.  Your basil will use up that space.

Regardless of which variety of basil you decide to go with (there are plenty to choose from), most varieties of basil love full sun and require a light, but even watering.  As a side note, basil is a great companion plant for tomatoes.

A lot of people like to “warm” up their garden beds for their basil.  This can easily be accomplished by laying a clear .6 mil. thick plastic tarp over top of your garden beds and letting the sun do the work for you.  This process will create a nice warm area for your basil.

Expect your basil seeds to germinate in as little as 5 days, although 10 days is more likely.  

One of the beauties of basil is that you do not need to harvest the entire plant.  You can simply snip off basil leaves with a pair of scissors and use it when you need it, leaving the basil in the ground to continually grow.

The real hard part is finding recipes for all that home grown basil you are about to grow.

42 comments:

  1. love the guidance you give us. thanks!

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  2. Basil is my favorite herb to grow. I harvest the extra to make pesto and freeze to use during the winter. I love the way it perks up baked chicken and pasta.

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  3. Growing Basil here in Arizona is really tricky. It get's so hot here that you need to either cover it up mid day or have plants that give it plenty of shade during the hottest time of the day. I have learned that it is important to use it. Don't let it grow to big or get to blossoming and keep it short and trimmed. It is a very fast growing plant when in the right conditions. Hugs, Bobbi Jo

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  4. I was enjoying my fresh basil so much this summer that I put it in a pot and brought it inside for the winter. It isn't doing so well but there is almost nothing better than cutting off the fresh leaves for use in bruschetta with homegrown tomatoes.

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  5. Thanks for the tips! I LOVE basil! I grew 8 varieties this summer and collected the seeds this Fall. Although this is more than I can use, I just love the fragrance and it's a beautiful plant. Plenty to share!
    cathyguitarteacher-01 at yahoo dot com

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  6. Basil is the easiest thing I have ever grown. Everything else my flounder but growing basil has never been difficult for me. And I love how when in my garden I can just brush past it up comes an aroma that is to die for!

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  7. Basil was my best producing plant in my first garden. It does well in the south with even watering. The more you harvest the more it grows! Out of 6 plants that first year my mother in law and I both had 3-4 freezer bags full of leaves plus I had another full harvest I let go too long that was ruined by the cooler fall weather. Basil is now a staple in my garden every year.

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  8. Coming from an Italian household, Basil is like water you can never have enough! It is a wonderful herb.

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  9. Growing Basil in Western NC Mountains is easy. As long as you have some shade from direct sunlight from 11am-3pm, it will come up year after year and multiply. It doesn't matter the type of basil either. If it goes to seed to early, then chop off the flower heads to save plants or grow to seed for saving seeds.

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  10. I have growing basil to thank for the time my family spends together in our garden. My other half wouldn't garden on his own, but the basil is HIS plant. So it never fails, when he comes out to tend to the basil I've planted for him, he'll stay to relish in the beauty of our other homegrown food as well. If it weren't for the basil he loves so much (and I do too!) he'd never join me outside.

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  11. I've never been able to grow any herb, let alone basil. However, a single lone oregano survived out of a store-bought herb kit. To this, I recently added 3 basil seeds (yeah Mike!) and 3 sage seeds. I now have 8 tiny plants growing and a tiny parsley! How I got 9 seedlings out of 6 seeds baffles me, but maybe my luck is changing! Or Mike's seeds reproduced by magic. I keep telling people organic is better!

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  12. I use basil, but have never grown it...would like to try.

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  13. I needed to learn how to grow it....mine didn't grow last season... Not enough water is my guess. Thanks!

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  14. I love growing basil and then drying it and providing dried basil for my family and my daughters' families. It makes my shed smell heavenly. Love, love, love it.

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  15. I love growing basil! This summer my neighborhood block smelled like my back yard's basil harvest! It was wonderful :)

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    Replies
    1. Congrats! You are the winner of the book "Vegetable Gardening for the Average Person: A Guide to Vegetable Gardening for the Rest of Us"

      Please email me directly at mike@averagepersongardening.com so we know where to send it.

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    2. Thank you so much!! I have sent you an email, please let me know if you do not receive it. I'm very excited, I just keep telling everyone I see today. I can't wait to read it. Thank you again. Have a wonderful weekend!

      Delete
  16. My fiance and I really want start a garden and become self-sufficient for many of our basic veggie needs, that free book would sure help make that happen! PS. I promise to post pics of our future fruitful harvests ;)

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  17. I love Basil and would like to learn to better grow it. I am still learning how to grow things without killing them!

    Brenda

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  18. I love that basil is the easiest of the herbs to grow (for me). I toss some seeds on the ground and it takes over. It also self-seeds, creating a no-fuss easy herb garden, which is perfect for lazy gardeners like myself!

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  19. I love basil for my homemade pesto. I like to use the pesto for homemade pesto bread. Im always able to grow it quite easily because we have good sunlight in our garden. I usually have a hard time growing it inside though.

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  20. Maria thomas: I haven't tried growing Basil -although I should. Your information makes it easy to understand so I'm going for it

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  21. I'm actually growing basil right now indoors, and its still alive! I am using a grow light and planted it in the same large pot as my oregano, which is also still alive. So far I am doing better than I did last year. :)

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  22. My outdoor Thai Basil is still growing dispite temps down into the high 30's.

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  23. Basil looks so pretty in the flower garden. It's easy to keep the bushy plant about 24" tall if you keep pinching off the very tips to keep the rounded shape. Toward the end of the season, let the basil flower, the bees love it and it's nice filler in between annuals and perennials in the front yard!

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  24. I just purchased my first package of Basil seed. I'm going to plant it around my tomatoes as a deterrent to aphids and white flies.

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  25. Tomato soup must have some finely chopped basil added to it or my family doesn't like it. Would like to grow some instead of buying it. Does it do well in pots on the window sill?? Or would it be best outside??? ....all year? A book on the subject would be a great help!

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  26. ah, Basil... I like to sit in the middle of the basil patch and just breathe it in. It's a game changer in dishes of all kinds and I get gardener's-high making basil-pine nut-Parmigiano Reggiano pesto... I just love herbs!

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  27. Every year I try to grow basil from seed and every year I end up buying a new plant. One year we had a late freeze. Last year we had a drought and our well dried up (lack of water). Apparently my brown thumb needs direction. :)

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  28. Living where I do I tend to find Basil growing a little tricky, as I live on a windy valley hillside. This warmth loving bush only survives as a tender annual, and I have to be extra careful about its positioning. Even the slightest drop in temperature in the summer leaves it black and wilted. That aside, when I do get a good crop, its easy to cut up and save in little icecube blocks for use when the winter sets in. A little basil with some canned tomatoes goes a long way with many dishes.

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  29. I live in the NW and even summers are cool here. I would like to try growing basil and other herbs in my kitchen.

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  30. I grew basil for the first time this year. Who knew it would just keep on keeping on!! Wow. Love going out and just swatting the leaves and smelling them. It's also great for cooking! :)

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  31. Basil is one of my favorite herbs. Because of our heat I grow several varieties indoors year round. My family enjoys having it close in the summer for a quick add to a tomato sandwich and in the winter months it can be added to just about any soup for burst of flavor.

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  32. Bush Basil & Italian Leaf Basil are growing next to self seeded tomatoes right now.
    Great to throw basil on eggs breakfast most mornings!

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  33. It was my first time to grow Basil this year and it was incredible. It grew so well and was such a great smell. I used it in my spaghetti sauce and pizza sauce and then dried it for winter. I will without a doubt always grow basil...along with parsley, chives and cilantro!

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  34. Basil is my absolute fav herb to grow i can bush a stem 3 times

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  35. I have tried growing basil and other herbs with no luck.So I have been reading up on the do's and dont on pintrest lol.I was for fortunate enough early this fall to be awakened and see the mess that the United States is in.So this book would help me out very much to becoming self sufficent in the garden and canning foods for my family.

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  36. I have never been able to grow basil or other herbs,cuz I don't have a green thumb.Tried many time so I buy them fresh instead.I have recently awakened to see the state that the United States is in(sad how people can be so deceived and when you wake up you feel so ashamed and stupid for not seeing it before. but also Thankful)Now I am doing all I can to wake people up,anyway this book would help me get started on becoming a sufficent person so I could learn the do's and don't in gardening,and start canning for my family.

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  37. The first plant I ever grew was a basil plant. It has the most delicious smell and texture. That one little plant really began a life long love of gardening.

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  38. Laura Hatton-BarnesDecember 14, 2012 at 8:08 PM

    I tried growing Basil for the first time this summer. I grew it in a pot on the back porch and it did very well. I discovered that I could dry it in the microwave and it stayed a brilliant green color. I did the same with parsley. I also grow dill and cilantro in our garden and dry them. I use the herbs for Christmas gifts for my family. They are very much appreciated, considering how much they cost in stores!

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  39. Planted basil for the first time and the fragrance from the plant is overwhelming. And cooking with fresh basil....well....unbelievable???

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