Basil

Why Grow It?

Broad Beans are generally the first legume to produce a crop, making them one of the first new-season crops of the year.  Arguably they are not as tasty as peas or french beans, but they are very easy to grow and prolific, and they freeze well.

Sowing

When to Sow: Sow seeds anytime from April to June in a module tray or container.

Where to Sow: Basil likes a Mediterranean climate (don’t we all) so either grow it indoors in a pot, in a glasshouse or a polytunnel. Basil thrives in well-drained soil, positioned in a sunny window

How to Sow: Fill a pot almost to the top with seed compost. Give it a little bang on the table to settle down the compost. Sprinkle the basil seeds on surface, spacing as evenly as you can. Cover with a small layer of compost – around 5mm and then give it a gentle water.

Sowing Tip: If sowing outside sow near tomato plants. Basil is an excellent companion plant for tomatoes. Basil is effective at repelling tomato hornworms and can improve their flavours.

Growing

Transplanting: Basil will germinate in about two weeks. When it’s about 7–10cm high, you can transplant into a larger pot or the ground. If planting in the garden allow 30cm between plants.

Growing Tip: Fertilise soil once a month if growing indoors. Make sure to water often in hot weather.

Harvesting

When to Harvest: Start picking the leaves of basil as soon as the plants are around 25cm high. Cut off the growing tip of the plant with a scissors. This encourages the plant to get bushy rather than tall and straggly!

Harvesting Tip: Harvest in the early morning, when leaves are at their juiciest.

GIY Tips

  1. Basil likes to grow in a sunny, wind-free location but it also likes ventilation (so if growing inside, place beside a window that opens. » Over watering or lack of food is generally the reason people kill basil plants. Water only when the compost dries out, and give it a liquid feed if required.