HOW TO GROW BASIL FROM SEED
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Fresh basil is a wonderfully sweet, and aromatic herb, and if you have ever had the opportunity to taste a few freshly picked leaves straight from the mother plant you will understand why it is one of the most popular of all the culinary herbs.
Luckily - given the right conditions – basil is easy to grow from seed, but because Basil needs a reasonably high - and stable - temperature to initiate germination. With that in mind, it is always best to sow basil seed indoors - irrespective of whether it will end up being planted up outside or not. Fill a seed tray – almost to the top – with a moist seed and potting compost, and then thinly sow your basil seeds over the surface. Give them a light covering of compost and gently water in before transferring to a bright, warm room. Try not to allow the compost to dry out, but equally, do not over water. You can consider placing a plastic cover over the top of the seed tray to help maintain moisture and humidity, but this must be removed as soon as the new seedlings emerge to prevent fungal infection.
Once the seedlings have emerged through the compost keep them in a light position but out of direct sunlight. Once the second set of ‘true’ leaves have fully formed, transplant each seedling into 3 inch pots allowing no more than four plants per pot. After a couple of weeks - when the young plants have had time to establish - they can be gradually made accustom to outside conditions if that is to be their final position. Harden them off for a couple of weeks or so before planting outside, but only do so one the threat of frost is over. Choose a sunny, sheltered site for best results allowing 12 inches between each group of plants. The young tender leaves can be harvest any time – so long as the plant is big and strong enough – any time from May until September.
As the plants continue to grow, remove any flower buds as they arise as this will signal a change in the flavour of the basil, making the leaves bitter and even unpalatable for some people. Flowering will also cause a significant reduction in the growth of new foliage, reducing the amount which can be used for cooking.
For more information click onto:
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How do you Harden off Seedlings?
How to Collect and Prepare Tomato Seeds for Propagation
How to Compost
How to Grow Asparagus
How to Grow Basil from Seed Indoors
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How to Grow Greenhouse Tomato Plants from Seed
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Starting Tomato Plants From Seed
The 'Garden of Eaden' Seed Shop
What is Composting?
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What is Oregano?