Basil occupies a special position in the cultivation of herb plants in the hobby garden. If you want to successfully grow the royal herb yourself, you should heed the following aspects. We get to the heart of all the important factors relating to perfect planting.
How is basil properly prepared?
If you want to grow the warmth-loving herbal plant yourself, you can start growing it indoors from the end of March/beginning of April. How to proceed:
- fill a seed tray with peat sand, coconut fibers or seed-soil
- sow the seeds without covering them with substrate
- moisten with a fine shower
- Wait for germination at a partially shaded window seat at 20-25 degrees Celsius (68-77F)
From a growth height of 5 centimeters (2 inches), prick out the seedlings to keep them constantly moist until planting outdoors.
Which site conditions have to be considered?
In order to be able to grow basil productively, a sunny location is of primary importance. In addition, a location that is protected from rain and drafts is an advantage. In the bed, choose a planting site where no royal herb has been cultivated in the past 2 years to prevent fungal spores lurking there.
In addition to plenty of sun, good air circulation is important on the windowsill.
In which soil does basil thrive best?
One of the unexpected attributes of this herbal plant is that basil is a heavy feeder. Thus, the composition of the earth depends on these factors:
- nutrient-rich, humic, deep soil
- looser, fresh-moist, and slightly sandy
- an ideal pH of 6.5 to 7.5
If you plant basil in a pot, lean herb soil is unsuitable. Instead, use compost-based potting soil enhanced with sand, perlite, or expanded clay.
Basil planting time
The Mediterranean herbal plant does not tolerate temperatures below 12 degrees Celsius (53F). The second half of May is therefore the best time for outdoor cultivation when there are no longer any fears of late ground frosts.
If you grow basil on the balcony, put the tub outside during the day from April. From mid-May, the plant also stays outdoors at night.
How do you plant basil in beds and tubs?
If you grow basil in the garden, carefully weed the soil at the chosen location. Then rake the soil well and remove roots or stones. Then it goes like this:
- dig a planting pit with twice the volume of the root ball
- enrich the excavation with sieved compost, granulated cattle manure, or hummus
- Lay a 3-4 cm 1-2 (inches) high drainage on the sole made of grit, expanded clay, or broken clay
- fill in a handful of substrate and plant the potted basil
After planting, the young plant should not be lower than it was in the seed pot. Finally, pour generously. Proceed in a similar way when planting in pots, using the recommended substrate.
Then give the young basil plants a few days to get used to the blazing sun. Place the tub in partial shade for 3-4 days and shade bedding plants with a parasol.
What methods of propagation are there?
Apart from the sowing, basil waits with the uncomplicated propagation by means of offshoots. To do this, cut off 10-15 cm (4-6 inches) long shoot tips from a vital mother plant, which are defoliated in the lower part.
In a glass of water, the cuttings root within a few days. Now you can plant them in a potting soil-sand mixture so that the cuttings quickly develop into strong young plants.
How is basil harvested?
In the cultivation of basil, 6 to 8 weeks usually elapse between sowing and the first harvest. Do not pluck off individual leaves, but harvest entire shoots that are 5-7 centimeters (2-3 inches) long. If you cut off the shoot tips continuously, this measure also prevents flowering. Once basil blooms, the leaves take on a bitter taste and the plant dies.
How are the basil seeds harvested?
If you want to obtain the seeds for propagation yourself, the royal herb should first be allowed to bloom. While the pretty flowers are slowly withering, the small seeds are developing underneath.
Pick off the withered leaves. To harvest the seeds, do the following:
- cut off the dead flower stalks
- Use your fingers to strip the fruit and blossoms over a bowl
- Rub the flower-seed mixture between your palms
Sieve this mix through until the black seeds remain. These dry in the air for a few more days and then store them in a dark container in a cool cellar.
Basil is an extremely useful plant partner in the bed. Together with tomatoes, vines, peppers, beans, kohlrabi, corn, and onions, the aromatic herbal plant drives away annoying pests and insidious fungal spores. Only with conspecifics such as dill, lemon balm, savory, or thyme does the royal herb not get along.