Growing Tips for Basil

Growing Tips Basil

The basic principles for growing most herbs are discussed on our I love Home Farming web page http://www.mcewenfarms.com/home-farm-tips . These principles include container quality, soil. watering and sunlight. However; Basil has some specific requirements you need to take into consideration.

  • Basil is a warm weather plant. Please make sure you are past the last frost day in your zone before placing your containers outdoors or planting it outdoors.
  • Make sure you place it where it can receive at least 6 hours of sunlight per day
  • Spraying the leaves with cold water will create spots. If your water is chilly drip it directly into the soil
  • Basil will grow indoors over the winter, if you have a window with good sun exposure and protect it from cold drafts.

The McEwen Farms Organic Balcony Garden Starter Kit which you can purchase here http://www.mcewenfarms.com/products/organic-balcony-container-garden-starter-kit has all of the ingredients necessary to start a wonderful basil garden. Here is how to start your garden:

  • Fill the all natural handmade planter with the Organic Mechanics premium potting soil that is included with your kit
  • Take 10 to 12 of the High Mowing Organic Basil seeds included in your kit and evenly space them throughout the container. Press them 1/8 of an inch into the soil.
  • Water them lightly and cover the top of the pot with clear plastic wrap
  • Place the pot in a warm area of your home
  • When the seedlings emerge, uncover them and place them in the sunniest and warmest place you can find.

Of course, you can always go to your local gardening store and buy seedlings that you can transplant into your pottery and soil.

A watering hint:

  • Let the soil begin to dry before watering. However; watch the leaves for any sign of wilting. If you see signs of wilting then water your Basil. The Organic Mechanics soil included in our kit is designed for superior water retention and distribution.

If you want to take your basil and other herb gardening efforts to their highest level, then try using our Biodynamic Preparations. To learn more, please click here : http://www.mcewenfarms.com/biodynamic-preparations .

Careful picking of leaves will help insure constant production. Remember, any stem that starts to flower will stop producing leaves. Pinch off the flower if you wish to keep the herb producing.  Sometimes a mixture of flowering and producing stems can be quite lovely.

Harvesting: I pick single leaves all the time for quick garnishes. But when I’m harvesting whole stems, I cut just above a joint in the plant where two stems are starting to grow. This step helps the plant to grow bushier, thus creating even more leaves. Harvest your basil just prior to its flowering. The leaves have the most essential oils at this time.

Please refer to our Planting Calendar http://www.mcewenfarms.com/biodynamic-planting-calendar for the best times to plant and harvest basil.

Traditional Uses of Basil

In India, the basil (known as Tulsi or Vrinda) is widely used and several myths have grown out of its use both, as a medicinal herb and for religious purposes. The ancient treatises on Ayurveda speak highly of this plant saying that its regular use keeps palate, throat, teeth, gums, bronchus and lungs free of infection. Most traditional Hindu homes grow the plant and believe that an invisible oil permeates the atmosphere thus keeping it clean and free of germs. Further, no snake or scorpion will come near a basil plant and I have personally verified that it also keeps mosquitoes at bay. It is no wonder that the Hindus have accorded spiritual status to the plant and revere it almost as a deity. In fact, the basil is considered to be sacred by many and it is believed that this plant sprouted on its own over the grave of Christ. Christians in Eastern Europe still look upon the plant as a gift of Christ and on St. Basil’s day, the womenfolk plant basil seedlings in their gardens with the same fervor as a religious rite. Taking a cue from Christ’s resurrection, some even plant basil over the graves of their dear departed in the hope that it might revive the dead!

This was taken from Anjan K. Nath, Ph.D