Kath says, “basil needs its space to thrive” as I gazed into the two large pots she was digging through. Mine always gets a little wimpy; apparently I’ve been spacing the poor little guys too close! Kath shared her tips with me on growing this kitchen-garden delight!
1. Mix up organic compost and pour into a well-draining pot. Basil will grow in slightly alkaline soil, yet thrives in a more acidic environment. The ideal pH of the compost should be between 5.5 (strongly acidic) to 6.5 (mildly acidic).
2. Space the seedlings! Once the seedlings pop through the soil and rise up one inch be sure they have ample space between them. If they appear cramped, gently lift and space apart approximately 6-10 inches.
3. Place in a well lit corner allowing for ample sunlight. In the Northern Hemisphere, the best corner is a south-facing windowsill.
4. Water once a week and voila!
Basil is a “pick and come again” herb. This means knowing when and how to harvest is essential! Be sure to:
- Pick from the top
- Pick at 12 inches; once it grows higher it may flower too heavily
- Pick a few leaves from a number of the plants rather than only one
Basil is a nice herb to grow in the kitchen to ward off fruit flies! In the warmer weather months though, consider taking your basil outside while working in the garden. Not only will it soak up great light, but also attract bees and butterflies around the garden!