You know it's time to create your own DIY herb garden and plant some basil, when each whiff of fresh herbs at the market sends your heart pitter-pattering.Turns out, your green thumb is just sitting there, attached to your hand, waiting to get planting. Growing basil is easy no matter how much gardening experience you have. Here are some steps to get your basil from seed to pesto:
1. Plant your basil seeds in a container or right in the ground, as long as you’re using rich, healthy soil. Poke a hole about a half-inch deep and plant the seed, covering it gently with soil. Or, just lay down your Herb Seedsheet, and the seeds are already spaced perfectly and covered with a soil buffer.
Basil does well in a warm and sunny environment. It can be planted alone in a pot, near other herbs, or near tomatoes--they are companion plants!
2. Water your newly planted garden. Seeds need to be in contact with moisture to germinate (sprout), so make sure to keep the soil moist using a watering can or spray bottle. Using a spray bottle is nice because it is a gentle way of watering without dislodging your seeds, but sometimes it doesn’t provide enough water so feel free to poke the soil to make sure it is wet all the way through.
3. Germination will happen within the first week or so. If you’re planting inside, place your container in a sunny windowsill. These babies are slow-pokes at first, but as soon as the true leaves start forming, the rate of growth will increase. Be patient, and you’ll have a bursting-basil plant in no time.
Thin your basil so that there are about 2 plants per cluster, with each pair spaced 6-12" apart. These plants will grow wide and bushy if they have adequate space. This is what you want for optimal production!
4. Harvesting can begin when the basil has a few sets of leaves and more than 3 segments on the stem. Basil will keep growing tall if not harvested regularly. If you want to encourage your plant to take on a “bush-like” quality and produce more leaves for your caprese salads, harvest right above the growth points to promote side shoots. Pinching the top growth will allow your basil plant to put more energy into making bigger side leaves. Lush foliage is the goal here.
5. Add organic fertilizer after each time you harvest. This will give your plant a boost to keep growing healthy-herbage. Try to harvest from your basil before it tries to produce any flower buds because the leaves will become bitter at that stage.
6. Make your favorite basil recipes! Here are some of our favorites: