How to grow basil

Close up of the leaves of sweet basil

Learning how to grow basil is simple. If you follow a few simple steps, you will be rewarded with a bountiful harvest of fresh and healthy basil leaves. Growing basil from seeds, in a container, such as an EarthBox, or in the ground, is cheap and easy, as long you plant, water, prune, and harvest your plant.

Basil is the king of herbs. Native to India, it has been cultivated for over 4,000 years. From India, it spread through Asia to Egypt, where it made its way to Rome and southern Europe. In the 16th century, basil finally reached Britain where it was carried to North America by settlers.

There are many different types and varieties that you can add to your garden, from sweet, used frequently in Italian cuisines, to more exotic varieties such as purple, with its dark purple basil leaves. Fresh basil leaves enhance the flavor of almost any dish including meats, soups, sauces, salads, fish, marinades, poultry, and vegetables. One of the most famous sauces made using basil leaves, olive oil, parmesan cheese, and pine nuts is pesto.

Basil leaves are used all around the world for for also used for medical, and religious purposes. Basil in Hindi is known as tulasi. In India, basil is a perennial that is considered holy. Basil in Spanish is known as albahaca.

Choosing A Type Of Basil To Grow

There is no right or wrong type of basil for you to choose when learning how to grow basil. Certain varieties do develop better in some conditions. Fortunately, the plant is simple enough to care for and easily adapts to different soil types and water conditions. The best advice for choosing a variety is to first taste as many types as you can and then pick the best tasting one that you would also enjoy to cook with. If you are growing an ornamental plant, choose a variety that has beautiful basil leaves that will fit your purpose.

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Planting Basil

Basil thrives when using a high quality, pH balanced, potting soil or rich organic soil with a perlite and peat mixture. It can be grown from seedlings or from seeds. Growing from seed is not difficult, but if you are a novice gardener, starting with a seedling might be the better choice. If you are growing from seeds, you can first start the seeds indoors in late winter, then transplant to your garden outside in the spring after the last frost. Basil can be grown in a pot or directly in the ground. With a few simple steps, you will enjoy a bountiful harvest of fresh, aromatic, and fragrant basil leaves all summer long.

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Watering Basil

When watering the plant, do not water the basil leaves but only the base of the plant as the leaves are easy to damage and do not need water themselves. Water as needed, everyday or every other day, to ensure the soil is moist but not damp.

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