Growing Basil from seed
Like a great many other gardeners April and Easter more specifically is is an incredibly productive month in the garden.
I’ve just come in from the polytunnel having pricked out about 50 basil seedlings into 3″ pots. The smell on my hands is just fantastic … can’t help thinking of tomatoes when I’m pricking out Basil plants. They go so well together and if you plant a few alongside your tomato plants the aroma will help to keep the whitefly away.
Basil is an annual which basically means it will produce for you in one year but you will need to grow new plants next year.
We’ve been sowing in a light well drained compost mix since the beginning of March right through and so far we’ve been fairly successful with our germination. I particularly love the broad leaf basil varieties as they are really easy to grow and don’t take a lot of looking after … and they remind me of holidays in the Loire with the children. Wonderful times.
Secret to growing great Basil plants?
Don’t over water and keep the plants in a warm, sunny spot in the garden or window sill. We grow a few outside but mostly in the polytunnel to be honest so we can control the watering and this year we’re also succession planting as we hope to sell to the local pubs and restaurants to raise a few extra pennies for the coffers!
If you want to grow a few plants of your own plant your basil seeds in a tray or pot from March onwards. We’ve sown Basil seed pretty much up until the begining of September and still produced reasonable plants, so the season is generous.
After about 4-5 weeks prick out into 3″ pots and 4-5 few weeks later you should have some handsome basil plants!
What can I do with Basil?
We use Basil all the time in the kitchen mainly on tomato salads, but also have been known to make our own pesto! I also read somewhere the Amish chew on Basil to treat colds and flu although I’ve never tried it myself.
If you’ve never grown Basil plants from seed then give it a try as the flavour of home grown Basil is simply fantastic.
Happy Easter to one and all!