6 Tips for Growing Basil

June 8, 2011

I had so much fun trying to grow basil plants from seed this spring, and now they are big healthy plants, just in time for summer-y, basil-y recipes. It all started in a greenhouse.

6 Tips & Tricks for Growing your own Basil

1. Give those seedlings some sun! When you first plant your basil seeds, put them in a warm, light filled location. As soon as you can see a little bit of green popping up, it’s time to give them some direct sun.

Side note – Those “mini greenhouse” plastic containers aren’t worth it, to me at least. I found them too difficult to monitor and I got stressed out about the water level – Is it too wet? Is it a tiny bit dry? When do I take the cover off? I found that seeds did better without all those “complicated” directions. [They weren’t really that complicated.]

2. Be gentle when watering tiny seedlings. Lots of water or too much too fast can wash them right out of there. I used an old spray bottle to make sure I wouldn’t drown them.

3. As soon as the seedlings can stand, touch them! Knocking those basils around a bit is good for them, it makes them stronger.

4. When you have 2-3 full leaves, go ahead and pinch. The plant produces a hormone that prevents branching, but as soon as you pinch off the top of your plant, that hormone is released. Branches here we come! This part is so neat to watch.

5. After the plants are pretty well established and have multiple healthy leaves [leaves that look like classic basil leaves, not seed leaves], I’ve found that good dappled sunlight is just the right amount of light. Not too much, but plenty to go around.

6. When you see the purple flower buds on the tippy-top of the stalks, pinch again. If you let the basil flower, the flavor will change. So, no flowers for you!

Copyright Whitney Curtis 2010-2013

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