Herbs can benefit life in many ways. Growing basil, Ocimum basilicum, is an super way to spice up the garden and your favorite recipes. I am pleased to introduce, Basil, a sweet herb, member of the Mint Family. Sweet Basil is the most popular grown basil plant known but it grows in a host of other varieties. When it comes to old age medical remedies, and flavoring meals, basil is the best.
Growing basil has a special significance in many cultures throughout the world. Indians swore oaths with basil leaves in court. Italian lovers would wear a piece of basil in their hair when courting 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 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’.
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. 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.
Organic mulch should be added to the surface about 3” deep. 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.
It is a good idea when growing basil, to plant it near your tomato vines. Both of these plants require above average 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 also acts as a natural insect repellent, either in the home kitchen, or to keep pests away from other plants.
After 6” of growth, the top leaves are ready to be pinched off. Basil plants can grow to approximately two feet tall. Growing basil is a big benefit to both your garden and your household.