Basil is such a useful herb to have in the kitchen and it’s really easy to grow. It can be grown close at hand on your kitchen windowsill for the summer, or if you’d prefer you can plant it out in the garden once it’s big enough and all risk of frost has passed.
Basil is an annual herb, so you will need to sow fresh seed each year between February and June.
Fill your pot with a good quality seed compost such as John Innes No 1 and firm the compost to create a level surface. Moisten the compost and let any excess water drain before you sow your seeds.Sow the seed across the surface of the compost before covering it with a light sprinkling of compost or vermiculite.
Place the pot in a heated propagator if you have one, but if not then you can simply seal the pot inside a plastic bag until the seeds have germinated. This usually takes up to 2 weeks.
Once germinated, you can remove the plastic bag and grow them on in cooler conditions. It’s really important not to overwater Basil seedlings as they hate wet soil. Try to keep the compost just moist, and let it virtually dry out between watering.
Once your Basil plants are well grown you can start to harvest it regularly. Simply cut individual stems just above a set of leaves. New stems will develop from the leaf nodes to provide you with more tasty Basil leaves in a few weeks time.
If you spot any flower s appearing then these should be removed to prevent the plant going to seed. If fed and watered regularly and harvested often, your basil plants will keep going all summer.
Plants and gardens have always been a big part of my life. I can remember helping my Dad to prick out seedlings, even before I could see over the top of the potting bench. As an adult, I trained at Writtle College where I received my degree, BSc. (Hons) Horticulture. After working in a specialist plantsman's nursery, and later, as a consulting arboriculturalist, I joined Thompson & Morgan in 2008. Initially looking after the grounds and coordinating the plant trials, I now support the web team offering horticultural advice online.