Grow, Harvest, & Preserve Basil
Grow, Harvest, & Preserve Basil
Basil is my all-time favorite herb to grow! It smells so good!!!
I will run my fingers through them as I pass by just so their smell fills the garden. We use Basil in our pesto, tomato sauces, garden marmalade, and even salsa. But there are several other reasons to grow Basil.
Why grow Basil?
- Basil taste amazing
- Basil smells divine
- Basil can help keep pests away from your other garden plants.
- It's easy to preserve
- Pruning promotes more growth, equaling more harvest.
- And as most herbs do, it has many medical qualities.
Plant Features & Where to Grow:
There are several types of Basil: Sweet Basil, Purple Basil, Thi Basil, Cinnamon Basil, & Lemon Basil, to name a few.
They are an annual herb, so you must replant/reseed them yearly. But you can prune them and get multiple harvests from one plant.
You can plant them in a pot or your garden beds. I love to keep them by the front door and run my hands through them when going in and out. It leaves a refreshing aroma in the air.
How to grow Basil:
Basil is an easy, quick-growing herb to add to your garden. You can start with seeds or get a jump start with an already-established plant.
Growing from Seed:
- Planting Basil by seed will give you quick results. I use seedling trays with watering systems underneath.
- Basil likes the soil warm, so I suggest you use warming mats under your seed tray if you start seeds in winter. Then move them out into a greenhouse until the temps warm up outside.
- If in warmer months, seedlings sprout quickly and will soon be ready to transplant into a pot or garden.
- You can purchase plants at your local garden center if you want to start immediately.
- You should be able to find several verities.
- Basil surprised me by being one of the easiest herbs to propagate! It's so easy. You will never spend another summer without a ton of basil plants.
- When you prune your plants, I will tell you how below; put your cuttings into a glass canning jar with water. Change the water in the jar every two days. You will soon see roots form!
- Once the roots are well established, you can place them in your garden!
- If you succession plant, this is a great technique to help you have Basil on hand as you add more plants to the garden.
Basil likes hot temps and moist soil. You will want to mulch around your plants to help keep that moisture in. They are great to intercrop in between your tomatoes to help keep pests away.
How to prune to produce more:
Basil leaves are arranged oppositely along the square stems.
We want to count down three leaves until we find a "branching" set of leaves.
Cut right above this set of leaves. The two "branching" leaves will produce two more steam offshoots that will grow back for your next harvest.
How to Use:
In the Kitchen
I use Basil in our tomato sauces, salsa dip, pesto, and garden marmalade. I also love to dry it and have it ready to add to any dish.
Fresh Basil Pesto:
(video below will show you all the ingredients and steps)
- 2 Cups of fresh basil leaves
- 1 Tbsp of minced fresh garlic
- Pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 1/3 toasted pin nuts or almonds (we don't like nuts in our pesto, so we skip this step)
- 3 Tbsp grated Pecorino Romano Cheese
Combine Basil, garlic, salt, and nuts in a food processor and blend until coarsely chopped. Slowly add the olive oil while the processor is still running.
It should give you one cup. With a family of six, I double our recipe.
Transfer to a bowl and fold in the cheeses. Best if eaten fresh. It can store in a covered container in the refrigerator.
How to Preserve Basil:
Basil is a very easy herb to dry. You can tie them together three steams at a time and hang them upside down. They should be ready in about two weeks.
Then place the dried leaves in a jar. Store in a cool dark place.
Find our herb labels HERE
You can also use herb salt as a way to preserve Basil. (Blog link here)
Watch my Basil harvest, how I dry Basil, and create fresh Basil pesto!
Thanks for visiting the Wildwood Wonder Cottage Homestead!