How To Grow Your Own Potted Herbs - Growing Basil
Enjoy Home Grown Basil In Pots On Your Windowsill And In The Garden
Growing herbs in pots is an excellent way to grow your own. If space is tight in the garden, you only have a small outdoor space, or you live in a flat or apartment with no outdoor space at all, herbs can be one type of edible you are still able to easily grow. Herbs are ideally suited to growing in pots, especially in limited spaces, as only a small amount of the plant is used at a time, so one small plant can be enough.
Basil is one of the most popular herbs to grow at home, one of the most common varieties being the Italian basil called Genovese. You can buy plants from the supermarket, but these have been grown rapidly which means they have an inadequate root growth. This is why the seldom last as long as home grown plants. One packet of seeds, at a similar price to what you would pay for a plant in supermarkets, will provide you with plants for several years, as well as enough plants to give to your friends, family and neighbours.
Just one pot can provide enough leaves for most families needs, unless you have a tendency to use it very frequently in your cooking, in which case a couple or more may be required. It is popular herb, used extensively in Italian and Asian cooking. To use, snip off the leaves as required and remove any flower heads to encourage healthy leaf growth. Basil doesn't just compliment tomatoes in cooking. If you grow tomatoes, basil make a great companion plant to grow alongside as it deters white fly and other pests.
Basil prefers moist, but not waterlogged compost. Water in the mornings rather than allowing the plant to sit in wet compost in the cooler dark of night. Growing the plants in or near the kitchen means regular checks on watering requirements can easily be made.
How to grow basil
Basil seeds like warm conditions to germinate. Either grow them indoors on a windowsill or start them off indoors and transfer to the garden to harden off when they are established and thee is no risk of frosts or cold weather. To get the seeds off to a good start and help germination, cover the pots with cling film. This will increase the warmth of the compost. Alternatively, place the pots in a propagator.
Basil is actually a perennial but as it is a tender plant it is usually grown as an annual herb which will require replanting each year in springtime. Use fresh potting compost as basil likes a rich growing medium. Make sure that the pot drains well if outside as the plant will not appreciate being waterlogged. It likes warm sunny conditions, so place the pots either on a sun facing windowsill or position in the garden where they will catch the sun. Basil will tolerate partial shade but will thrive with at least five hours being exposed to the sun.
Growing potted herbs is an ideal way to have some grow-your-own edibles if space is limited. Basil is ideally suited to growing in potswhich makes it easy to hand grown in or near the kitchen. It require minimal care, ideal for the novice herb grower, and is a valued ingredient in many popular meals. Growing your own will also save money compared to buying it from stores.