Basil Growing Guide
By Jamie Carroll. 20/2/2020
We love growing basil. Nothing beats the aroma it releases as you brush past, and the taste of homemade pesto is unbeatable!
With a bit of care, basil can be grown outdoors just about all year in our climate. In this post we will show you just how simple it is to grow; honestly you will never go back to shop bought plants!
We grow our basil from seed, which we sow twice a year. The first sowing is in early October and again in March/April. This ensures we have an almost continuous supply.
What you will need:
- Basil seeds
- Potting soil
- Seed trays or pots
- Water sprayer.
How to grow:
- Fill your tray or pot about 3/4 full with the potting soil.
- Water it well and leave a few minutes to drain and settle. Add more soil if required.
- Scatter the seeds thinly over the surface of the soil.
- Cover the seeds with about 1/4 inch (6mm) of potting soil. The seeds are very small so only a light covering of soil is required.
- Spray the top of the potting soil until it is moist.
- Keep your tray/pots in a bright place, but out of direct sunlight. Basil is quick to germinate and you should see the seedlings emerge in less than a week.
- Keep the soil moist, but not soaking.
- After germinating, give the seedlings more direct light, but avoid afternoon sun for a while if possible.
- Once they are about an inch tall, we separate them and plant one seedling per 3” pot.
- We leave them in these pots until the roots are just starting to show through the drainage holes. Don’t leave them too long or they will get pot bound and their growth will slow!
- Plant them in the ground 10-12” apart. Basil will happily grow in pots too. Our April sowing actually stay in large pots. That way we can move them in order to keep them out of the scorching summer sun.
- Prune the plants when they are about 6” tall and have several sets of leaves. This will encourage more stems to grow.
OUR TOP TIPS
Basil likes the sun - give them 6-8 hours a day for best growth.
We plant our basil between tomato plants. The taller tomatoes give the basil some dappled afternoon shade, and the basil apparently gives the tomatoes more flavor – win win!
Give them lots of water, but make sure the soil is free draining. Don’t use saucers under pots as the roots hate sitting in water.
Harvest by cutting just above a leaf joint. Keep harvesting for stronger growth and better harvests.
When flowers appear, the flavour of the leaves lessens and growth slows. We pinch the flowers off most plants to keep them productive, however we leave a few plants to flower as the bees love them!
Jamie from @amirah.and.dadas.garden