Basil is an annual herbaceous plant. Its leaves and seeds are used worldwide in cuisine. It is mostly used in Thai dishes due to its sweet flavor and fragrance. Growing basil requires no special skill. Let's see how to grow basil at home with the available materials.
Botanical name: Ocimum basilicum
Centre of origin: Central Africa
Other names: Vana Tulsi, Varvara Tulsi, common basil, sweet basil, Munjariki
10 steps to grow Basil plants:
1. Soil: Select well-draining, fertile, and less compact soil or potting mix to grow Basil plants. The soil pH should be neutral for the healthy growth of the plants.
2. Location: select a well-lit area with a minimum of 6-7 hours of direct sunlight. This annual herb loves sunlight for producing healthy and lush green leaves.
3. Seeds: select good quality seeds from an authenticated company or well-known sellers. If you are a beginner in gardening please start with good quality seeds. ( Basil seeds )
4. Water: water in the morning and evening consistently. Do not let the soil dry between watering when seeds need to be germinated. This plant requires a good amount of water both for germination and its growth.
5. How to care: when you have sown seeds, care should be taken in terms of watering them until they germinate. We have to water them twice a day until they germinate and establish well.
6. Pests: Basil greens are usually attacked by leaf miners, aphids, and cutworms. These insects are attracted to basil plants due its sweet fragrance and flavor.
7. Diseases: sometimes Basil greens are attacked by leaf spots and yellowing of leaves and stunted growth. Twisting of the stem.
8. How to control pests and diseases: Use horticultural soap or neem oil solution once a week as a prophylactic spray for plants, in order to control the occurrence of pests and diseases. There are many chemical fungicide options for controlling pests and diseases. But for doing organic farming or to get chemical-free fruits and vegetables, always use neem oil or organic pest and disease controller.
9. Harvesting of leaves: Basil plants are mainly grown for their fragrant and sweet flavored leaves. You can start harvesting leaves once they reach the 6 leaves stage. Or after 30-35 days you can just pinch off the first pair of leaves. Pinching off the first pair of leaves encourages the growth of side branches or lateral shoots and makes your plant bushy.
10. Harvesting of seeds: Seeds of basil plants can be harvested when the flower dries. You can cut and remove the dried flowers and extract the tiny black seeds from them. We have to wait 60-70 days.
Basil is a rich source of vitamin A, Vitamin K, Calcium, Iron, and Manganese. And has many health benefits. Here we tried to list down the health benefits.
1. May reduce the blood sugar level
2. May reduce stress level through aromatherapy of basil
3. May reduce bad cholesterol level
4. Basil can be used against infections and to treat wounds
5. Basil paste can be used as anti-acne
Most frequently asked questions:
1. How long does it take to grow basil from seeds?
Basil plants usually take 5-7 days for germination after sowing of seeds. It takes around 45 to 60 days for its growth and establishment. When a plant establishes well you can go for pinching of a pair of leaves.
2. Should I soak basil seeds before planting?
It is not necessary to soak the seeds in water before sowing. Because the seed coat will not be so hard, seeds will germinate even if you do not soak them in water. So we recommend direct sowing of seeds.
3. How do you start basil seeds?
You can start sowing seeds with your grow kit or seed starter kit. Seeds can be sown at any time of the year but the best time is the spring and post-monsoon time. Sow seeds in pro trays or seedling trays once they reach 3-4" tall go for transplanting in the field by maintaining the space of 4-8" between the plants and 18" between the rows.
4. How many basil seeds should I plant?
Select 8-12" pot for sowing seeds of basil. Put 6-8 seeds per pot, once the true leaves develop on the plant you can go for thinning of plants up to 2-3 per pot. Two to three plants are sufficient for the three-member family for garnishing purposes.
Question-related to soil:
1. Which soil is best for growing basil?
Well-draining soil with a good amount of nutrients is good for growing plants. Select good quality potting mix if you are a beginner. If you are unable to buy a potting mix, mix river sand with soil to make it porous and less compact.
2. What should be soil pH to get a good yield?
Selected soil should have neutral pH of 6.5 to 7.5. Neutral soil pH favors the growth of most plants. If the soil is acidic/sodic, it may deter the availability of few nutrients to plants.
3. Which kind of soil is good to start with seeds?
Garden red soil / good quality potting mix is better for starting the seeds. If you are a beginner start with a seed starting mix.
4. Can we germinate basil seeds in clay soil?
We can germinate basil seeds in clay soil. But care should be taken to not to overwater and sow seeds at a proper depth. Seeds should be sown at 1.5cm depth to get better germination.
Questions related to germination and growth:
1. What is the best temperature for the germination of basil seeds?
Basil seeds are sensitive to cold temperature, they require little warm conditions for their germination. Basil seeds take 5-8 days for their germination. They germinate best at 19-21 degrees Celsius.
2. How to germinate basil seeds?
Usually, there will be different methods of seed germination. Seeds germinating in the sand, seed germination in tissue paper. etc. But if you are decided to grow basil outdoor sow the seeds directly on the soil at a depth of o.5 cm and cover them with soil properly. water regularly to keep the soil moist. Seeds require a good amount of moisture for their germination. so keep the seed bet wet, not soggy.
3. Do Basil leaves grow back when you pick them?
If you cut the tip of plants of basil, it encourages the growth of lateral branches or side branches in them. It increases the growth of side branches in them. So the answer is yes, Basil leaves grow back when you pick them.
4. Should you pick basil leaves from the top or bottom of the plant?
Always for basil and mint, you have to pick them from the top instead of the bottom. When you cut the tip or apical branches it supports the growth of lateral branches and makes the plant bushy.