How to grow your own Basil (Ocimum basilicum)
In Norway where I originally lived, we were lucky if the Basil hopefully survived outdoors in July and parts of August. And it still needs the sunniest and most sheltered spot in your garden or on your terrace. And then you can proudly but thinly spread out finely chopped basil on your homemade pizza or pasta. A couple of times.
Basil outside in a dry and quite a shadowy corner in my garden here in Texas (Picture was taken May 2015).
Here in Texas I go out in the garden (in March!!) and chop off some branches of basil, rip it roughly up with my fingertips and completely cover the hot and sizzling pizza while the divine scent of the cornerstone of the Italian cuisine spreads through the house. I really love it.
This is some Large -Leaf Basil bought at our local garden centre a month ago and planted in a sheltered spot. The picture was taken this week. Already chopped down several times. Basil Genovese.
I can also drive to one of the big grocery stores around and buy some basil. Most of it is grown in hydroponic systems (water cultures). That basil is an expensive anaemic ghost compared to the real one grown outside in compost and raised by the Texas sun.
It’s so ungrateful to buy this helpless lump of sad leaves when you can grow it so easy and successfully home in your own terrace or garden.
I sow Basil seeds indoors in February. Keep the sprouts watered, but more on the dry than wet side. The best is to let the pots stay in some water so the soil can regulate itself.
You can get Root rot (or “damping off”). Basil hates bad drainage and too much water. Drainage is the key to successfully Basil harvest.
Basil also hates cold temperatures, so be careful to plant them out too early in the kitchen garden. Those ones on the picture are sulking because they were planted out two weeks ago and got some pretty cold nights on their heads.