Growing basil is not that difficult if you have a warm tropical like climate.
How to grow basil?
The easy way is to plant a sapling. I have tried growing basil from both seeds and saplings. And I have found it is easier to grow basil from a baby herb sapling.
You can buy the baby plant from a nursery and plant it in your garden soil. One needs to grow basil when the frosty climate is over. The temperature has to be warm to moderate and you can grow basil indoors in containers or pots. Before autumn commences, it will be a good idea to bring the basil indoors in pots. Planting in full sunshine with soil that is enriched with natural compost or organic mulch is a good way of providing the necessary foundation to grow basil. The herb also needs plenty of water, don’t let the soil crack keeping it moist all the time.
Basil herb is from common mint family and belongs to the basilicum species. It occurs in various constrant ranging from variable heights, colours and forms. Basils are frequently used in Italian cuisines like pasta and soups. They are also popular in Asia. In India, Basil is used in tea and worshipped too. Thai Basil from Thailand and the Holy Basil in India find various culinary uses in kitchen.
Basil requires plenty of sunshine and modest amount of water. Basil can also grow in shade but it is happier when it gets direct exposure to sunlight. It grows best in warm tropical-like and moderate climates. Basil can be used for culinary and medicinal usage throughout the year provided it does not become too much of frosty and cold. Once it has grown in abundance, pluck the leaves, it will grow back.
They can be easily grown in warm climates resembling tropical regions provided the soil temperature reaches up to 70°F, and the length of the day is adequate enough, with the nights not going below 55°F.
In order to ensure that your little basil herb does not die, water it alternate days and make sure that the soil is moist.
Too much of fertilizers are never good for herbs. Enhancing the supply of nitrogen and potassium might kill the herb. I would recommend using organic compost or wet kitchen waste (vegetable peels, fruit skins) for the herbs, the natural mulch is never an overkill. The natural compost has the advantage of degrading naturally and slowly giving nutrients to the soil.This enables the plants to grow healthier and better.
I have noticed that black soil instead of red is always more rich in nutrients and thus it is more nourishing to the herbs.
You can harvest basil once it grows to approximate 8 to 12 inches, at the time when the leaves become soft, fleshy and green. Do not whisk away all the big leaves because they act as the energy powerhouse for the plants. The big foliage captures solar energy hence you ought to leave some while harvesting.
The growth of basil can suffer if it is attacked by pests, primarily the aphids. Outdoor menaces can come from slugs and beetles. The herb can also get affected by fungal diseases turning gray with mold and developing white or black spots. You can control the fungi by supplying it warmth, wait till the temperature changes to 60 to 70 degree fahrenheit. Also handpick the pests or use natural pesticides.
Once the basil starts flowering, all the energy goes into blooms and seeds. You can pluck the seeds and the flower in order to continue getting fresh green leaves. You can also gather seeds which can be used for planting new saplings.
Though growing basil is not difficult; it sometimes refuses to germinate. I remember having some incidents in which my basil did not survive. This was the case when I planted two basil herbs nearby. One grew larger but the other lived for only few days and later died. Therefore, I would suggest keeping good distance between two herbs. A distance of one foot to allow plenty of space and sun-light is a good idea.
Once you follow the basics correctly, you can enjoy the herbs throughout the year for all four seasons.