How to grow basil at home

Basil really is a useful herb to have a ready supply of in your home! You can thinly slice the leaves and scatter them over a pizza or toss them into a salad. The leaves can be pureed and used in sauces and soups or for something different, you can try them with vanilla ice cream, sliced strawberries and a balsamic reduction. Basil is easy to grow at home and a lovely looking indoor plant too!

Invest in a packet of Genovese basil seeds, some quality potting compost and some six inch flower pots (15cm) and matching drainage saucers.. If you have the chance to buy potting compost that is specifically for seeds and young plants – even better.

Here is what you do:

  • Moisten the potting compost and use to 3/4 fill the flowerpots.
  • Take some basil seeds and sprinkle a few in each flowerpot. Cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil. Using a plant mister, moisten the top of the soil gently.
  • Place the flower pots in a warm sunny window where there is sunshine most of the day Avoid draughty windows and also places where the temperature drops sharply at night – basil doesn’t like plummeting temperatures!

The first shoots should appear within two weeks.

  • As the plants grow, rotate the flowerpots so that the plants grow straight. If the plants look crowded, thin them out using scissors. Pinch out the centre new leaves to make the plant grow bushy.
  • Keep the soil moist, but don’t over water. One month after the seeds have germinated, the basil plants will have developed their own distinctive fragrance and after two months you can start planning to make some pesto sauce!
  • At this stage, it is usually beneficial to start feeding your plants with liquid fertiliser – especially if their leaves start to lose their colour. Check the fertiliser packet for the recommended dosage.
  • If you plant fresh posts of basil seeds every few weeks, you will have a continuous supply of fresh basil and decorated with a large gingham bow, the pot of fresh basil makes the perfect gift for family and friends.

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