Today there are sprays, scented candles, plug-ins, and even discs that promise to freshen your air by putting a variety of aromas into your home. However, when you know how to grow basil, you can have enough variety of fragrance to package your own potpourri!
The most commonly grown basil is the annual, ocimum basilicum that carries a minty fragrance that smells like – well, it smells like sweet basil. In addition to having a wonderful fragrance, sweet basil is an essential ingredient in soups, stews, pesto sauce, and just about any tomato dish. Knowing how to grow basil is a must for every herb gardener. You can grow herbs both indoors and outdoors.
Basil comes in over 160 varieties that, in addition to the sweet basil fragrance, offer other aromas like those of lemon, licorice, and cinnamon and foliage colors that range from emerald green to royal purple. Learn how to grow basil and you provide a treat for you eyes as well as an aromatic treat for you nose.
Generally, when just learning how to grow basil, you’ll want to start your plants from seeds. Until basil stems are nearly mature, they are quite fragile and easily broken and bruised so transplanting young basil cultivars can be an exercise in futility. Luckily, basil is one of the cultivars that can be seeded directly into your garden and in fact, if you reseed your basil plot every three weeks, you’ll have fresh basil all summer long.
Basil is a low-maintenance plant. Although it prefers full sun, it will grow in partial shade. Once seedlings are established, basil is also drought tolerant and will actually provide better flavor if you don’t fertilize it! One tip you should know about how to grow basil and preserve its full flavor for culinary use is to pinch off flower spikes as they form.
Part of the fun of knowing how to grow basil is the many different ways to preserve it after harvest. You can harvest your basil anytime by snipping off its leaves as you need them and they turn many ordinary dishes into delicacies when used fresh. Basil can also be dried by snipping some stems and hanging them in bunches together. Air-drying basil in this way is a great way to add its aroma to your kitchen! When your basil bunches are completely dry, you can crumble the leaves and store them in glass bottles. Basil can also be preserved by freezing. Freeze small quantities of fresh basil in plastic bags or chop the leaves and freeze them in water in an ice cube tray.
Basil is an easy-growing herb that is full of possibilities for home décor, fragrance and culinary use. In addition, it’s as well suited for container growing as it is for direct seeding into your garden. Learning how to grow basil is a sweetly satisfying part of gardening, no matter what variety you choose to grow!