Go through any cookbook, and chances are pretty good you will find sweet basil among the herbs used in many famous dishes, notably Italian cuisine. Aside from being palatable, this herb is also easy to cultivate.
When you start growing herbs like sweet basil, do not be surprised if some of them only reach 3 inches or so. That is normal, and while there are 6 inch types, it is not as common, and does not in any way affect the flavor. Also, the question of whether it is better for sweet basil to grow in pots or on the ground is irrelevant, because it can adapt to either one well.
One of the keys to growing herbs like these is to try and prolong their blossoming as much as you can. When the time for the sweet basil to blossom comes, you should nip the upper leaves. The reason why you will want to do this is that if it starts growing flowers, the leaves will lose their flavor.
Other important notes to keep in mind when cultivating sweet basil is that it requires a lot of sunshine and heat, more so than other herbs. The best time for growing herbs like these is when the temperature reaches about 70 degrees. If you want to plant them in the evening, the temperature should be about 50 degrees.
Other points where the sweet basil differs from the way you are used to growing herbs is that it needs a more moist soil than usual, and compared with those that require the low fertility type, the soil needed by this herb has to be of the richer kind. Spacing is also important here, as these plants tend to get quite thick when they grow.
The sweet basil can be cultivated indoors, but it is crucial that you feed it on a regular basis, and it is also important that it be given sun exposure often. Warmth is also crucial for this herb, and lacking any of the three will cause it to deteriorate. The aphids and beetles are the most common pests for indoor grown sweet basil, and can be removed with insecticides.
Growing herbs like sweet basil can do wonders for your meals, as a sprinkling of this will add that flavor that is often missing. By simply observing these tips, you will be able to use and relish these flavorful herbs.
Originally posted 2009-07-14 16:02:56.