Basil is a tasty, fragrant herb that is great in many dishes—including homemade pesto. Basil is one of the most loved and recognized herbal flavorings.
Planting Basil - How do I plant Basil?
If you’re new to herb gardening, then basil is a really good place to start. Because basil is usually pretty simple to grow. Basil usually starts fast and then grows like a proverbial weed.
You can start basil in a small container, but basil won’t grow in a small container. Herb kits that give you dinky little containers aren’t going to feed the bulldog, or your herbs. Your basil herbs are going to need some space.
Basil will grow best in a location that gets 6-8 hours in sunlight each day. But, it can also be grown in less sunlight.
Since you’re planning on cooking with your basil trimmings, you should always use clean soil. Never use pesticides.
You should plant seeds/seedlings about 1/4-inch to 1/8-inch deep and a few inches apart. They should grow to about 12 to 24 inches in height. The funny thing about basil (like most herbs) is, the more care you take in planting them, the better they do. Treat your plants well, and they will treat you well.
Basil likes it’s space. So, in the meantime, you can thin the plants and use the thinning for your cooking. You can start picking the leaves as soon as the plants are 6-8 inches tall. I suggest that you “over-plant” and then use a thinning strategy. But, don’t forget to thin, because your basil is going to want and need it’s space.
Trimming and harvesting
You should trim your basil in order to help them thrive. Even if you don’t need the basil leaves, By trimming and harvesting regularly, you can grow more plants in a smaller space. Don’t forget to regularly pick your leaves in order for it to grow strong and health. It will encourage growth. If you cut often, you will have bushy plants with plenty of leaves.
Once basil begins to flower, the leaf flavor declines.
How to store basil
The best way to store your basil is by freezing. Freezing will prevent the plant from losing most of its flavor.
You can also store your basil by drying it. You should pinch or cut the leaves off at the stem and place them in a well-ventilated and shady area. The leaves should be completely dry. You should turn the leaves regularly - for equal druing.
Or, what we like to do is to hang them upside down in the kitchen with string so they dry well. For best results the basil should be fully dried within two to three days.