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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Growing Your Own Basil to Add FreshFlavor

Guest Blogger: Karissa Martin

copyright 2011 Art of Living, PrimaMedia,inc

Basil can be found in many Italian dishes and can be used to add flavor to many recipes.. You can find it at your local grocery store or buy it dried for easy use throughout the year. However, what could be better than fresh basil every day of the year in the comfort of your own home?

The first step to growing your own basil is to decide whether you want to grow it indoors or out and decide on seeds or a starter plant. If you live in an area with temperamental weather, you may want to grow your basil indoors in a small pot. If you are an inexperienced gardener or want to use your basil quickly, a starter plant is the way to go. There are different types of basil to choose from. Sweet basil is commonly used in Italian cooking, but if you’re looking for something a little more exotic, try one of the other types, such as African Blue. Garden centers carry plants and seeds, and your local plant nursery should have what you’re looking for. Some seeds and starter plants can be found online if you are willing to pay the shipping costs. Don’t forget to get soil and a small pot if you are planning to grow your basil indoors.

After obtaining your seeds or starter plant, you must plant your basil. Make sure your basil plant will have plenty of sunlight wherever you decide to plant it, and don’t plant it in an area prone to flooding. If you’re planting in a pot, allow for water drainage using small rocks or gravel at the bottom of your pot. Add potting soil, creating a hole near the top that is big enough to contain the plant or dig a hole if you are planting outside. Insert the plant or scatter the seeds and top with an inch or two of soil.

Water the plant at the base every day or two to keep the soil moist. When the plant begins to flower, remove the buds to prevent the flavor from decreasing. When the leaves are large and the plant gives off an aroma, you can pick off the sweet, peppery leaves to use at your leisure. Enjoy!

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1 comment:

Lisa Z said...

I love fresh basil! I am going to make an Italian salad and use some from our garden this week!