Who can endure the piquant aroma that drifts from Basil on a warm, sunny day in an herb garden? The fragrance will lure you tighter to touch the leaves and discharge even more of the heady whiff. Basil is frequently called “the king of herbs,” and it’s obvious to see why. Whether in the backyard or the kitchen, it dominates our awareness.
Basil (Ocimum basilicum) is a warm-weather yearlong herb with succulent and highly aromatic leaves advancing in wavering pairs on upright square stems. Leaves go from light green to dark purple and can be small as 1 inch (2.5 cm) or as large as 5 inches (12.5 cm) long.
Most types develop about 2 feet (61 cm) high and approximately as wide. During the peak of summertime, 4- to 6-inch (10 to 15 cm) stalks of tiny white to maroon flowers appear on the crown of this herb.
The most favored Basil is ‘Sweet Green,’ with intense green curved leaves. For the best pesto flavor, grow ‘Genovese’ or ‘Mrs. Burns Lemon’, two reliable producers in most regions. Try ‘ Spicy Globe’ for an extra flavor kick,’ which will grow into a 2- to 3-foot (61 to 91 cm) hemisphere.
Gardeners who enjoy Asian foods should grow Thai basil (A). The light green leaves on violet stems are outstanding for stir-fry foods. This is also one of the few varieties with a massive ornamental flower cluster.
If you make herbal vinegar, look for Purple Ruffles or Red Rubin (B). These varieties have deep red crinkly leaves that provide a ruby tint when steeped in vinegar.
CARE AND FEEDING
Many Basil grows successfully in full sun with warm climates and plenty of water. Please don’t bring them out too early in the growing period. Wait until the ground and air conditions are above 60°F (15.6°C) and all risk of frost is past.
- Find a place with at least four hours of direct sunshine and mix biological amendments with the soil to help hold moisture and boost the plant.
2. Water herb regularly to maintain growth but allow the soil to become dry to the touch between waterings to avoid damage to the roots through over-watering.
3. Spray with insecticidal soap as needed to fight chewing insects.
4. Since you’re growing it for the flavorful leaves, watch out for rising flowers, which strain energy away from the desired leaf production. When daytime temperatures rise above 80°F (26.7°C), you’ll see the stem tips begin to form a rectangular cluster of four leaves layered closely, one on top of another. Your Basil is achieving maturity and setting up a flower spike.
The Initial impulse most gardeners have is to pinch off the tip. Dead-heading, or lifting off the flower spike, doesn’t halt the flowering—it simply makes way for the next flower stalk.
Instead, snip at least six leaf nodes down the stem. Your herb will continue leaf production again, which is precisely what you want.
GROWING IN SMALL SPACES
Most Basil requires a pot at least 18 inches (45.7 cm) in width for healthy expansion. If you are planting in smaller pots, seek small-leaf basils such as ‘Windowbox’ or ‘Italian Cameo.’ Don’t plant small Basil in large pots. The soil is likely to remain damp between waterings, promoting fungus. Instead, keep the pot in scale to the plant’s size, grafting it as it grows.
Collecting Basil is the maximum reward for growing this succulent herb. Wait until the plant has reached at least 1 foot (30.5 cm) high before making your initial cut. For the Initial harvest, cut stems just above the second set of leaves (counting from the bottom).
New branches will form now. We should harvest Basil regularly during the summer. The more often you gather it, the better the flavor and the higher your overall production.
DID YOU KNOW?
In the spring, if retailers are still holding their Basil in greenhouses, then it’s too soon for it to be planted outside in your backyard.
Either squeezing the leaves or administering the oil to your skin can work as a mosquito repellent.
Basil seeds can be unstable in germinating. The ancient Romans believed it grew correctly if you cursed and screamed as you sowed the seed