Basil

How to Grow Basil:

Basil, how do you harvest basil, how do you use basil, how much fertilizer dose basil need, how much water dose basil needBasil is native to India, and the Middle East.  It can also be found in some Pacific Islands. It most likely came to those islands with the spice traders and eventually made it to the Americas and Australia with early settlers.  

Basil has been linked with much folklore.  It was used as a mixture to ward off witches.  It is considered holy to the Greek Orthodox and is used to prepare holy water in churches, and grown in pots around the altars.  During Elizabethan times, sweet basil was used to clear colds and clear the brain of headaches.  It is also linked to love in many cultures.

Planting and Growing:

Plant basil indoors 4-6 weeks before last frost, and transplant carefully outdoors after the threat of frost is over.  Basil is a tropical plant and does not tolerate cold.  It can also be directly sowed in the garden when the last frost is past; however, in colder regions this is not recommended as you will have basil 2 to 4 weeks later than if sown indoors.

Basil is relatively easy to grow and is not invasive.  It is best planted with peppers and tomatoes because it attracts beneficial insects.  Simply keep the soils evenly moist and other than a fall compost, basil shouldn’t need any additional fertilizer unless the plant shows signs of nutrient deficiency.

To get a full, busy, basil plant with robust leaves, pinch off the growing tips when they are about 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm) tall.

Basil, how to grow basil, how to harvest basil, when to harvest basil, how do you preserve basil, how do you dry basil, how do you freeze basil, how much water dose basil need, what is the history of basil,

Harvesting and Preserving:

When basil is still young you can begin harvesting a few leaves at a time to add to your cooking. Basil is very sensitive to the cold, and will wilt at the first signs of the frost. You can pull the

whole plant at the end of the season, and turn all of the leaves into a pesto sauce and freeze.  Or just blend up the leaves and freeze to make a thick sauce to use in soups and stews during the winter.

Drying the basil makes a great product. To hang dry, just bunch together, and hang upside down in a warm, dark, airy place, or put them in a paper bag with holes to reduce exposure to light and dust. Dry for about 2 weeks or when they are crumbly, but not too long, or their quality will diminish. Strip

the leaves, and crumble to store in a jar in a dark, dry place.

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