Herbs are beneficial in many ways. Growing basil, Ocimum basilicum, is an easy way to spice up the garden and your favorite recipes. I am pleased to introduce, Basil, a sweet herb, member of the Mint Family. Although there is a few different varieties of basil, sweet basil is the most popular and well known. This herb is well known for flavoring foods and in its long past has been used for folk remedies.
Growing basil has a special significance in many cultures throughout the world. The people of India swore their oaths in court on basil leaves. Italian lovers would wear a piece of basil in their hair when courting ladies. The Mexicans believed it would bring back a cheating lover if you walked around carrying basil.
There are big health benefits of growing basil. The plant contains beta carotene, naturally packed with vitamin A. The herb is known by herbalists as a ‘cure-all’ for a wide array of ailments, from stomach trouble to headaches. There are so many benefits derived from basil, that it is known as the ‘King of Herbs’.
How to Grow Basil-
No need to worry, growing basil is a breeze. The seed can be sown indoors, then transplanting outside at a later date. It can even be full grown indoors if preferred. If you decide to do this, remember the plant needs sunlight, so a man-made alternative should be used, like fluorescent growing lighting.
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 layer of mulch of about three inches. Organic mulch is an excellent choice. Watering should take place 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. Remove dead heads from flower stems for it to continue in good health.
Try growing basil near tomato plants. 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 2 plants go well together. Basil is a big help around the kitchen and helps to repel insects in the garden.
After 6” of growth, the top leaves are ready to be pinched off. Basil plants can grow to approximately two feet tall. Growing basil not only adds to your culinary delights, but it is delightful addition in the garden.