There’s nothing like the smell of fresh basil to transport you back to summer in the garden on the coldest, darkest days of winter. Basil is a popular herb that is native to Southern Asia and the South Pacific islands. This deliciously fragrant herb can be grown for cooking, producing aromatic oils, or simply for home decor.
To enjoy the pleasures of cultivating basil all year, simply follow the following simple guide below to help you grow your own food.
Things You Will Need
Begin with a packet of seeds and a bag of high-quality organic soil. It would be best if you choose a seed starting mix high in nutrients, so you won’t need to fertilize for at least six weeks. One packet of basil seeds will provide you with a plentiful supply of basil plants to share. You can use standard 4-6” pots for planting. If you can find self-watering containers to grow your own food, your plants will be happier, healthier, and grow quicker because it keeps the soil constantly moist.
Basil grows best in a warm, bright environment, such as a south-facing window that receives direct sunlight for the majority of the day. You can use a grow light if you don’t have an appropriate window.
Steps in Growing your Basil Indoors
- A fresh potting mix should be lightly moistened and packed firmly into 4-6” pots.
- Pour a few seeds into your palm and sprinkle them over the soil surface.
- Submerge the seeds under a thin layer of dirt and gently press it with your hands.
- Mist it or water it gently.
- Put it in a warm, southern-facing window. Avoid places with drafty windows or where the temperature drops significantly at night.
- Rotate the pots as the plants grow to prevent them from leaning toward the light.
- Set a timer for grow lights to be on for 14 hours a day if you’re using them.
- Place the seedlings a few inches below the lights, and as the plants grow, raise the lights. The lights are too close if you detect white patches on the leaves.
- Move the lights closer to the plants if they appear to be leggy.
- Keep the soil damp but not drenched.
- If the plants become crowded as they grow, trim them out with scissors.
- Start using liquid fertilizer at the rate advised on the package if the leaves start to turn a pale green tint. Plant a new batch of seeds every few weeks to ensure consistent harvests.
You might have enough basil leaves two months after planting to make fresh pesto and surprise your friends and family.
Lighting for Growing Basil Indoors
Lighting is critical for growing basil indoors because the herb needs at least six hours of direct sunlight to thrive. Basil cultivated indoors can be provided both natural and artificial lighting by alternating between the two for a certain number of hours.
For natural light, basil plants should be put in a bright, south-facing window. However, if they aren’t cultivated under natural light, these potted plants may need to be grown under fluorescent lights. They will require roughly 10 hours of light for good growth under this type of lighting.
It’s a good idea to harvest basil before it sprouts flowers. Pinch off the flowering section if you don’t have time to collect any leaves. Although the blossoms are edible, pinching them off allows the plant to focus its energy on creating tasty leaves. Also, only harvest up to 2/3 of the entire plant to allow it to continue growing.
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