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Basil is one of my favorite herbs; it smells amazing, is pretty easy to grow, and you will find it in a lot of recipes. In the summer one of the added benefits to working in my herb garden is getting basil all over me, and also getting the aroma to waft through the yard. If basil is planted near asparagus it is known to keep away asparagus beetles. It is also said that planting it near tomatoes will cause the tomatoes to have more flavor!
Starting Basil Seeds
Basil can be started inside so that it can get established before it goes outside – this also gives you a jump on the gardening season. I personally prefer to start plants inside if possible; I feel like it gives them a better beginning. Basil should be started eight or nine weeks before the last frost, if you are starting them inside.
You don’t have to move basil outside if you would rather have it inside; lots of people have most of their herbs growing indoors. If you decide to keep your basil inside, just keep it in a window where it will have six to eight hours of sunlight, or under a grow light. The indoor method would probably be best for anyone how lives in an apartment or has a limited amount of yard space. There are actually quite a few cute pots made especially for indoor herb gardens; if you want to liven up your garden you could look at these.
If you are like me and enjoy having your herbs outside in the sunshine, you will want to transplant them after the threat of frost has passed. In different places the last frost is expected at different times of the year, so you might want to call your extension agent to find out your planting date. By the time you are ready to move your basil outside it should no longer look like it just came from the seed. It should have smooth green leaves, and be a sturdy small plant. Your basil should be planted in rich soil, so you might want to consider reading the post composting if soil is poor in your area. Plant your basil plants about twelve inches apart, and water the plant around the base. Plant your basil in a sunny location where it will get 6-8 hours of sunshine.
Once your plants have matured, you will notice that they start getting buds at the ends of the stems. When you see these buds, pinch them off before they can bloom; this will encourage the plant to grow while keeping it from going to seed.
Storing for Winter
Basil is an annual, so you will have to replant it year after year. But if you want to keep basil for your cooking needs throughout the winter, just collect a little extra every time you go to your garden and dry it. This will make it possible for you to use it all winter.
Basil can be used in multiple ways; it can be put in dishes or eaten raw. Just start looking for a recipe that fits your taste buds and go with it. Then let the rest of us know the recipes you find – I would enjoy hearing them. Also, if you have any questions please feel free to leave them in the comments and I will try to answer them. Have a great day and good luck with your garden.