Basil is one of the easiest summer herbs to grow and makes for delicious additions to salads and more. Did you know that the leaves also act as a natural fly replant? We love using Basil for dressing up a Gin to a Caprece Salad and everything in-between The new varieties available now have taken our edible gardening department by storm.
Although we tend to associate basil with Italy and other Mediterranean countries, it actually originated in India, and was introduced to the Mediterranean via the spice routes in ancient times. Tulsi, as the herb is known in Hindi, means Sacred Basil.
Where to plant them
Basil can be planted from seed right through summer or as young seedlings in a mostly sunny spot. We like our Basil to get some shade as this makes the leaves slightly larger and softer. To grow the best we recommend a spot where the soil is quite rich with loads of compost and organic fertiliser. They also do extremely well in containers. As a cut and come again herb a patch of six plants can give you a good harvest on a weekly basis.
Feeding will give you the best results. Plant them with BioGanic organic fertiliser and a liberal amount of compost. Once in the ground feed them regularly especially if you harvest continuously to stimulate growth. Water them every alternate to third day and preferably not on the leaves if you can.
Basil is one is eaten mostly for the leaves but if left they will also come into flower. Add the flowers into cocktails and salads for a refreshing taste. Most flower in white but we love the perennial Basil or Thai basil with their shades of lilac to pink flowers.
Basil is high on the list for plants for pollinators and we regularly see bee keepers looking for Perennial Basil to keep their bees happy.
The best way to select your new favourite is to pick a few leaves and smell or taste them.
The popularity of basil has grown over the past year as new varieties have been added to the selection. Lemon basil and Thai basil taste so different to what we traditionally expect. Thai Basil as well as Dark Lady Basil both have a spicy undertone but both very different. The Opal basil is very similar to traditional Green basil both being slightly sweet and can often be used together as they have such a similar taste profile.
Lemon Basil is so fragrant it also has a citrus flavour making it a great addition to anywhere you would traditionally use lemons. Sprinkled over fish dishes or desert... YUM!
Basil is a summer annual and will die off when we get to winter and then we get to plant a whole new selection through the spring and summer months.