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How to Grow Basil Plants

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Annual, Ocimum Basilicum

Basil  herbs are among the most popular plants to grow in the home herb garden. It is about as easy to grow, as any plant can be. The plant is attractive, with many varieties to choose from. Among them, are varieties stealing a bit of flavor from anise, cinnamon, lemon and even licorice. There are spicy varieties and sweet ones, too. Take your pick, but make sure to include at least one or two varieties of this popular herb in your garden.

This bushy plant grows 10-12 inches tall, with tooth-edged leaves. The leaves are varying shades of green to dark green, depending upon variety. Fragrant, purplish white flowers grow on tall spikes. These attractive flowers, popular with bees, are sometimes used in bouquets.

In the kitchen, the many varieties of Basil finds it's way into a huge number of recipes around the world. None are more popular though, than the many Italian recipes.

Basil grows well in herb gardens, flower gardens, containers and pots. They make a good indoor plant in a sunny window. Try growing them indoors over the winter.

Varieties A'Plenty: There are many varieties of Basil, including: Spicy Globe, Cinnamon, Dark Opal, Greek Basil, Genovese Basil (Italian type), Lemon, Lettuce Leaf, Sweet Basil (the most popular), Purple Basil, Siam Queen, and more!


Medicinal Benefits and Applications:

Basil is known for its anti-oxidant properties. It helps to fight off heart disease and cancer.It's antibacterial properties helps promote stomach health.


Propagation:

Basil are grown from seed. It is popular to start seeds indoors in containers first. Started early and placed in a sunny window, many lucky gardeners will be using the Basil leaves before the outdoor planting season has even begun! Transplant basil seedlings outdoors after there are at least 4-six leaves, and after all danger of frost has past.

Basil seeds can also be directly seeded into your garden, after all danger of frost.

Space seedlings or thin plants to 10" apart, in rows two feet apart. Some gardeners will grow just a few plants in clumps. They will tolerate a little crowding.


How to Grow Basil Plants:

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Basil is very easy to grow. They prefer full sun. They do well in average soils and tolerate dry soil conditions.

Water plants during dry periods, at least once a week.

Add a general purpose fertilizer once or twice a season.

Harvest leaves and stems as soon as there are enough to use in your favorite basil recipe. Rinse well, then dry them in a cool, dry place. Make sure they are completely dried before storing. You can also freeze basil for later use.

As plants get big, pinch the growing tips, for bushier growth.

Basil make good houseplants. As fall arrives, take young plants and transplant them into a decorative indoor houseplant pot or container. Gradually adjust them to lower and lesser light levels, or avoid leaf drop. You can also start new plants indoors from seed.


Main Cooking Uses:

Basil shines in kitchens around the world. From Thailand to the Mediterranean to the United States, there is no shortage of recipes.

Basil is a standard in pizzas, spaghetti sauces, and pestos. Basil adds flavor to spaghetti sauce, cheeses, soups omelets, and salads. It is also used fresh for sliced tomatoes, as a garnish, or for flavoring meats, and cooked in stir-fries.


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Recipes: May we suggest:

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How to Grow Herbs:
Anise
Angelica
Balm Lemon
Basil

Borage
Caraway
Catmint
Catnip
Chamomile
Chinese Parsley

Chervil
Chives
Cilantro/Coriander

Corn Salad / Mache
Cumin
Dill
Fennel
Garlic
Lavender

Licorice
Lovage
Marjoram
Mint
Oregano
Parsley
Rosemary
Sage

Savory
Sorrel
St. John's Wort
Stevia
Tarragon
Thyme
Watercress

Drying Herbs

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