Freshly hand-picked basil adds a unique taste of healthiness to any well thought out meal. Luckily, you are able to easily create this fresh taste with the right tools and the correct growing conditions as basil is perfectly easy to grow indoors. You can get going straight away with growing your own herb indoors and it takes very little effort.
Why You Must Grow Basil
There is nothing like the feeling of being able to cut fresh basil leaves in your own kitchen to enhance whatever it is that you are cooking. Basil as a herb is fresh, peppery, and wonderfully scented addition to any meal which makes it a natural choice to go along with so many cuisines.
When grown in ideal conditions, a single well-pruned Basil plant will give you around a cup’s worth of fresh basil weekly. If space is a problem in your kitchen there is no need to worry, all you will need is to find a sunny windowsill to place a plant pot on, fill it with well-drained soil and you will have Basil for months and months to come.
The most common form of basil that is grown in kitchens is sweet basil but there are other options like Lemon, Thai, and Cinnamon which are likewise available. The main variance between basil and all other herbs that you can grow at home is that it is a very tender annual plant. Basil is very delicate and does not like the cold, making it a perfect plant to grow indoors.
How To Care For Basil
Basic is a relatively easy-care plant if you are aware of all its needs. The initial, and most important thing that will affect your ability to successfully grow basil indoors is ensuring that you get the right type of sun exposure. You just need to have a sunny window which will give it at least 5 hours of direct sunlight daily. However, if you do not have plenty of natural sunlight, it is still possible to grow basil indoors by using use grow-lights.
The materials and supplies needed to grow basil indoors are fairly basic. Basil can be grown in any average sized, pot but one that is around 7 inch works best. Just ensure that the pot has appropriate drainage holes at the base. These are vital since they permit excess water to trickle through which helps to keep the soil in your pot moist, but not so wet that it effects your plant. Wet soil will ultimately cause your basil’s roots to rot killing the herb. Try using a potting soil mix and do not use garden soil from outside. This soil has a tendency to be heavy and can be compressed easily which prevents drainage and prevents you from growing Basil indoors.
Starting Your Seeds
It is so easy to start growing basil indoors and you do not need any complex knowledge of how to start. Basil seeds are commonly available at your local store or from online retailers. The seeds are fine, but you will still be able to place them singularly into pots. You will need to fill the pot up ¾ of the way up with soil and then you need to lightly water the newly planted seed. Let the soil then settle down and then this should generate the perfect conditions required for germination.
Ensure that you put your basil seeds on top and do not cover them with more than a sprinkle of soil. Sometimes it is advisable to put more than one seed in a pot, but space them 2 inches apart. It is important not to press down on the seed in this last layer of soil. To finish, water the basil daily with a light spray and try to keep the soil in your pot moist as you wait for your seed to germinate which typically happens within a week.
How To Grow Basil
As soon as your seed sprouts, always begin to keep a watch over your seedlings with lots of care and attention and keep them in their sunny position and lightly moist. As you have given space to your individual seedlings you will have allowed for growing room. The minute your basil plant starts to grow bigger, it will begin branching off as it gets strong. Sporadically pinch the tops off above a group of leaves to encourage your basil plant to branch out wider and grow into a little bush. When your basil gets to this stage you are able to harvest leaves as and when you want and enjoy your very own pot of fresh basil from your kitchen window. You will need to fertilize your basil plant every few weeks if you wish to keep it healthy with all-purpose fertilizer. It is also a good idea to rotate your pot every few days to ensure all the leaves get the sunshine that they need on all sides.
How to Harvest Basil
As soon as it is ready, your basil plant will be a pick-as-you-find-it type of herb. Simply harvest just what you need for the meal that you are cooking. If you have a profusion of basil you can clip a big harvest and let it dry. You harvest basil in exactly the same way as you would do with mint, cut a basil stem just above where two leaves meet. Consistent cutting inspires a more rounded, long lasting plant.
The best thing to do is harvest your basil before you allow the herb to flower. When you run out of time to harvest all of the leaves that your healthy basil plant produces, just take off the flowers. These flowers are edible, but when you take them off your basil plant, it will concentrate its energy on continuing to grow delicious leaves. As well also ensure that you only harvest 2/3 of the whole plant at any one time so that it will continue to produce lovely green tasty leaves.
Basil plant care is simple and straightforward and with a little love and attention, you can easily grow basil indoors.