Basil is probably one of the most versatile herbs and in this post you will learn to grow fresh basil easily!
Great in sauces, pesto, and soups, and often used as a garnish for many Italian dishes, as well as Mexican dishes, making it a favorite of the culinary herbs.
It is part of the mint family and is believed to have originated in India.
Bush Basil, also known as Sweet, or Common Basil, is the most widely grown basil in the U.S.
There are many variants and cultivated varieties of sweet basil.
For a nice variety in your garden you might enjoy Thai, purple or lemon basil as well. Now onto how to grow your own fresh basil!
In the photo below you notice new baby nodes forming.
Just above is where you want to pinch off mature leaves to encourage new growth.
HOW TO GROW
Plants should be spaced a good 12-18 inches apart, and planted in a 6 in depth hole.
Require 6-8 hours a day of sunlight.
Grow best in loose, well drained soil, and are very sensitive to frost.
They require ample watering about every 2 or 3 days. Avoid over watering to prevent root rot.
Once planted and given ample time for the roots to transition to planting, begin using a liquid fertilizer every 2-3 weeks.
Encourage growth by pinching off leaves and removing any leaves that appear yellow or discolored.
This prevents the plant from flowering and producing seeds. These things are all key on growing fresh healthy Basil.
It can be stored in an airtight container or ziplock bag for up to a week.
To preserve basil longer, leaves can be blanched for 25-30 seconds, followed by submerging the leaves into ice water, and then letting them air dry, before placing them in a freezer safe container and freezing them.
Basil will keep for several months in the freezer.
The leaves can also be chopped in a food processor and placed into an ice tray with a tablespoon of olive oil, and equal parts water to freeze for future use.
For dry basil, rinse the leaves, allow to air dry, and then place them in a brown paper bag.
Leave it in a cupboard or pantry, and crumble the leaves as needed.