Herbs are beneficial in many ways. Growing basil (or Ocimum basilicum) is an excellent addition to your flourishing herb garden. I am pleased to introduce, Basil, a sweet herb, member of the Mint Family. Sweet Basil is the most popular grown basil plant but it grows in a host of other varieties. When it comes to old age medical remedies, and flavoring meals, basil is the best.
Throughout history, growing basil has held significance to cultures all over the world. Indians swore oaths with basil leaves in court. To signify love, Italian suitors wore a sprig of basil in their hair when they courted their ladies. A popular Mexican belief is that carrying basil would return a cheating lover.
There are big health benefits of growing basil. The herb is a natural source of beta-carotene, which is packed with Vitamin A. The herb is sometimes known by herbalists as a ‘cure-all’ for a wide array of ailments, from stomach trouble to headaches. In fact, the list of benefits from this herb proves it so powerful; Basil is considered the “King” of herbs.
How to Grow Basil-
Don’t worry, growing basil is a breeze. The seed can be sown indoors, then transplanting outside at a later date. If you lack the space for growing basil outdoors, it can be grown inside. The plant needs plenty of sun to thrive. You can use fluorescent ’grow’ bulbs if there is inadequate lighting in your home.
The seeds should be sown about 1” from each other, in a warm time of year. After a few leaves have grown, the basil can then be re-planted. Make certain you wait until a late frost is no longer a threat.
Add a some mulch of about three inches. Organic mulch is an excellent choice. Watering should be done one day per week, before noon. Never use too much fertilizer, as this can remove the unique odor from the herb.
When re-planting, dig the herbs in at least 1 – 1 feet apart from each other, to ensure appropriate growing space. Growing basil has two main requirements: well draining soil, and a sunny, but damp area.
Basil should be pruned fortnightly to increase its hardiness. To do this, clip the leaves back, but stop ¼ inch above the node. This is to ensure enough foliage is left for growth to continue. Deadhead any flower stems to make sure the plant stays in production.
It’s a good idea when growing basil, to plant it near your tomato vines. Both of these plants require a lot of sunlight, and watering, so it is convenient to place them close to each other. Just like in your famous spaghetti sauce, these two plants go well together. Basil also acts as a natural insect repellent, either in the home kitchen, or to keep pests away from other plants.
Once the basil plant has reached 6″ high, you can start to pinch off the top sets of leaves. Basil plants can grow to approximately two feet tall. Growing basil not only adds to your culinary delights, it is delightful addition in the garden.