I simply love basil. It is a herb that fits in so many dishes and gives me the sensation of Italy on my plate. It makes every meal sunny and shiny. Since I am a passionate cook I have to have basil as much as I can.
But whoever has made a pesto Genovese, knows that a lot of basil is needed for a good result. And it is so simple to grow this plant the big way. Here I show you how easy it really is. From this day on you will never ever buy any of it again. Avoid using dryed basil or even frozen. This herb looses all of its power when it is treated wrong. The strenght sits in the fresh plant – used at the very end of the cooking. It also looses the shiny colour and becomes greyish.
But how to grow basil?
As a base you need to have a good basil plant. As I already said, it will be the last basil plant you will ever buy in a shop. What do I mean with „a good basil plant“? It is a plant that does not have thin branches in a low amount. The bushier it is – the better it will be for your coming next basil generation. The leaves have to be solid and they have to be lush green. So invest a little more in the mother plant.
If you have this kind of plant already at home you can continue to multiply your basil. If not, I have to recommend you to buy a new one or improve the growing conditions for your plant. It might be, that it does not have the right location or you do not water it in a correct way. What the perfect conditions for basil are you can find at the end of this article.
It is about the cutting of basil …
So now let us take the plant and start to multiply. Therefore you have to choose a good brush of your existing plant. It should be a very solid one. Take a scissor and cut the brush directly above the last pair of leaves from the bottom. To understand better where to cut take a look at the picture on the side. Honestly you could cut the brush wherever you want. But to cut it there, it is good for two things: First the new plant will be already quite big and second the existing plant will grow even double strong in this location.
This is exactly how to harvest basil the right way. Always cut the brushes directly above the lowest pair of leaves. From now on your basil will grow two brushes instead of one in this location. For sure this means to get double output. I have to cry always when I see someone pluck single leaves. This results in these thin and empty basil plants that just grow in length without any leaves.
A basil shot …
Now when this is clear take a glass with water and give the cut brush into it. I prefer taking a shot glass – it absolutely enough. It takes about two weeks till you will see the first results. Some roots will grow out of the brush. The only thing you have to take care about in this time, is to guarantee that there is always enough water and that it is fresh.
When the roots do have a good length that give you the feeling that the plant can continue growing as well in your garden or in a pot take them out of the water and plant them. Therefore make a small hole in the earth with your finger or a pen and slide the basil in.
Water it a little and from now on you can treat it as a normal basil plant.
Your mother plant has 10 strong brushes
You cut the brushes the way I told above and in future you can harvest now from 20 brushes of the mother plant and from additional 10 new brushes … so in total 30 brushes
These 10 new brushes will be cut the same way and this leads now already to this result:
Still 20 brushes from the mother plant
Additional 20 from the first generation
And 10 from the second generation … now you already have 50 brushes
You see, it will be not needed to buy new basil in the future. So long as you treat it the way it needs to be treated. A lot of Italian dishes wait for you … here some recepies
Above I was already talking about the good conditions for basil. Here are some very useful ideas to improve the profit.
How to treat basil the – good way
The first secret is sitting in the pot. Normally the pots from the supermarket or wherever you buy them is not dimensioned for long term living. So if you want to have them longer use a bigger pot for it. The roots have more space and can develop better.
A pot is a very good home for the basil – even when I have them in the garden. It holds the snails more on distance. Basil loves special herbal earth or at least earth mixed with sand.
As all herbs basil loves sunny spots as well. But avoid to place it directly in the hot sun – this makes it bitter. But because of this basil also needs a lot to drink. I water it almost every day, at least every second day. But avoid to overwater, water should not sit in the pot and make “wet shoes”. Just use as much as needed and water more often.
The best temperature for basil is about 20°C, it never ever should go below 10°C. So if you want to bring it to the garden, be sure that also at night the temperatures do not go below.
No flowers needed
Also basil is producing flowers on its top. If you want to use the herb in the kitchen, avoid those flowers by cutting them. If the plant is producing flowers all the power is going into it and going away from the taste.
I do have a lot of herbs in my garden. So it is useful to know about good neighbours and which do not fit together. Basil does not like dill, thyme, marjoram or Melissa. But it loves to be next to tomatoes. What a good partnership – it also fits perfectly on the table. I always grow them together.
If you secure those points, you will have problems to eat of what you have harvested from your garden. On this picture you see me with hands full of basil I have harvested just during the summer. And this is not a onetime event I can tell you. But good friends love to get a small herbal present. Eather as a pesto or as a living plant in a nice pot.