Known for its peppery, spicy-sweet flavor, basil is instantly recognizable for its broad, bright green leaves and tender stems. The leaves are the base for pesto sauce, but that's just one way of using this versatile herb. From pizza to pasta, fillings to sauces, nothing adds depth and dimension to everyday dishes quite like the ubiquitous basil.
Basil is mainly grown for its leaves, which can be used in cooking fresh and dried. The herb is part of the mint family, so it's easy to grow! In fact, if you want to try growing this herb from seed, there is a kitchen herb garden kit that includes basil to make growing your own herbs more convenient.
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Basil: Plant Description
Benefits: Being a robust grower, basil yields fresh leaves that’ll season stews, soups, roasts, and sauces. This herb is loaded with essential nutrients, including beta carotene, vitamin A and K. It's also known for its potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-bacterial qualities. As a medicinal plant, basil is used to treat stomach spasms, loss of appetite, intestinal gas, kidney conditions, fluid retention, head colds, warts, and worm infections. And if you plant basil in your kitchen, its bright green color adds life to the space!
Uses: As an herb, basil is a staple in Italian cooking. It is added to tomato-based sauces and is the main ingredient in pesto sauce. You can use fresh basil leaves as a garnish for pasta dishes, thinly sliced for pizzas, pureed into a soup, chopped roughly into a salad, even as topping for ice cream!
Growing Basil to Add New Life to Your Kitchen
If you’ve got a sunny spot in your kitchen, you can turn this space into an herb garden. Basil grows like weeds so that it will thrive in a sunny spot. It can tolerate some shade too, so it’s perfectly happy when grown indoors. Plant basil when the danger of frost has passed in the spring season.
To grow basil from seeds, choose a spot that gets at least 6 hours of sunlight every day. If the spot doesn’t get a lot of sun, use a grow light. If you are using an herb kit, just pop the growing medium in a pot and sow the seeds with about ¼ inch (6 mm.) of soil. Keep the well-drained soil moist by misting it with water. The seeds will germinate within 7 to 10 days.
Let the seedlings grow until they start producing several leaves. When this happens, you can begin thinning the basil to be about 6 to 12 inches apart. Mist occasionally with water until fully grown and start harvesting the leaves a few weeks later.
Everything You Need to Know About Growing Basil
Quick Guide on How To Plant Basil
You can plant basil by growing from seeds using a kitchen herb garden kit or get a starter plant. If the idea of growing basil from seed intimidates you, it’s a no-brainer. Basil is virtually fool-proof to grow and is one of the most beginner-friendly herbs to grow from seeds. And this goes for most varieties of basil, including:
- Lemon basil
- Italian large leaf basil
- Thai basil
- Purple basil
Whether you are using a starter plant or a kitchen herb garden kit, plant the herb only when the threat of frost has passed in the spring season. Sow the seeds in ¼ inch soil, then cover lightly with soil. The seeds should germinate within a week or two. For faster germination, soak the seeds overnight before sowing. Once the seedlings have sprouted, you have to thin the plants.
Soil: Basil will grow best in rich, well-drained, and moist soil with a pH of 6 to 7. Add compost, cottonseed meal, or blood meal to the soil to boost its nutrient profile.
Sun: Basil loves the full sun, requiring about 6 to 8 hours of sunlight every day. When receiving ample sunlight, the plant will produce more flavorful and abundant leaves. If you want to grow basil indoors using a kitchen garden kit, you can. Just use supplemental light like fluorescent lights. Indoors, basil needs about 10 hours of supplemental light to grow healthily.
Watering: Basil likes moist soil but never wet. Grown indoors, mist the herb regularly. It needs about an inch of water every week. Water deeply if the herb is grown outdoors as well as during the height of the summer season. Basil that grows in pots will require frequent watering.
Spacing: Basil needs room to grow. By spacing the herbs, the air can circulate around the plants, reducing the risk of diseases. Use a large pot when growing basil for container gardening. Each basil plant needs about 12 to 18 inches of space apart.
Companion Planting: Basil plays well with various plants, but it’s best grown alongside:
Growing Basil with ECOgardener Herb Kit
Who doesn’t love basil? This herb is so helpful in the kitchen and easy to grow! You can grow it near other crops or companion plants, and you will enjoy a tastier, more bountiful yield.
And if you want to experience growing basil from seed, simply use the ECOgardener herb garden kit. Visit our shop and get it today!