Cultivating and harvesting basil within the gardening homestead

Basil is one of the most popular plants to grow at home.

This compact herb can grow from seed to harvest on a windowsill indoors, making it ideal for any urban grower and let’s be honest, who wouldn’t love some fresh basil to add to a summer tomato dish or some homemade pesto – the smell alone can brighten up any kitchen.

Sowing

Sow seeds anytime from April to June.

Sow one seed in a module tray or small pot.

Basil likes a Mediterranean climate, so either grow it indoors in a pot, in a glasshouse or a polytunnel, or on a sunny windowsill.

Basil will germinate in about two weeks.

Growing

Transplant into a larger pot or the ground when it is about 7–10cm high.

If planting in the garden, allow 30cm between plants.

If growing indoors, fertilise compost once a month with a liquid feed.

Basil plants can be killed by frost, so don’t put outside until June.

Make sure to water often in hot weather.

Harvesting

Start picking the leaves of basil as soon as the plants are around 25cm high.

Cut off the growing tip of the plant with a scissors. This encourages the plant to get bushy rather than tall and straggly.

Keep harvesting by cutting off the tips above a node (where the leaves join the stem ), so new shoots will grow out of the node.

For best results harvest in the early morning, when leaves are at their juiciest.

Recommended Varieties

Sweet Genovese

Problems

Slugs love basil, so keep the area around the plants slug free. You can view all our slug prevention tips here.

GIY Tips

Basil likes to grow in a sunny, wind-free location, but it also likes ventilation – if growing inside, place beside a window that opens.

Over watering or lack of food is generally the reason people kill basil plants. Water only when the compost dries out, and give it a liquid feed if required.

 

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