Propagation and placementEdit
Basil is best grown from seedlings, although satisfactory results can be obtained from cuttings, and in some cases cuttings are the sole way some species of basil can grow. It will also grow about almost anywhere that is not too waterlogged. Grow seedlings in pots with ample fertiliser and moderate watering, sheltered from extreme heat. If grown in the ground, basil can grow into bushes, so plan ahead and have your saplings grown at least 2 feet apart from one another in an area with ample soil.
The growth of basil will be determined by how much root room it can have, but as a general rule, Thai basil's height will not exceed 3-4 feet.
Although basil is a rather hardy plant, there are several pests that one should be wary of.
Basil is extremely sensitive to damp as it is to cold. Inclement weather as well as contamination can lead to your garden being infected with fusarium, which will cause your plant to wither and die. Thai basil and cinnamon basil appear to be resistent, however.
Although basil often is rather hardy, aphids will cause it severe damage. Aphids attack the plant by sucking the sap out of the top of shoots, stunting the plant's growth. As precautionary measures,
- Never grow basil in a plot where there are ant nests.
- Trim your basil from the ground up, and do not let it touch the ground.
Trim the leaves as you need them. The flowers when young can also be used in cooking; immature seed pods can also be used to make tea when used in a decoction alongside with dried basil leaves.
There are two ways of storing fresh basil. One is to clean the leaves and let dry out for over a week before storage in a sterile jar; the other involves keeping cut stems in a jar of water so as to keep fresh. Do not soak or put in your refrigerator as this may cause the leaves to oxidise.
Different types of basil have different types of usage. For instance, sweet basil or Italian basil is best suited to Italian or French cuisine, such as in the form of pesto or pistou. Indian basil or tulsi can be used either in Indian cooking or drunk as a tea. For some breeds, the flowers may also be used too.