Basil is an easy-to-grow go-to herb for many culinary dishes. Let’s talk about how you can maximize your basil crop.
Where to grow
Basil can be grown basically anywhere depending on how big of a crop you want. You can plant basil directly in the ground of a raised or in-ground bed, in a pot on the porch, as part of your Stacking Herb Garden, or in a container on a sunny windowsill. Basil is an excellent addition to any home garden.
Harvest basil by cutting from the top down of the plant. A good rule of thumb is to never cut more than half of a stem at a time, and make your cut right above a pair of leaves, not leaving stem at the top. This encourages new leaf growth, which is what we want with basil. If you harvest your basil correctly you’ll notice the plant becomes more bushy and full, not top heavy or stringy with few leaves.
Discourage flowering and going to seed
Throughout the season try to keep the basil from flowering and going to seed by pinching or cutting off the flowers to keep the energy of the plant on making leaves. When you see a flower starting to emerge, pinch it off. Of course, harvesting your basil regularly will naturally discourage flowering or going to seed.
When the temperature gets colder and danger of frost sets in, get ready to dry and preserve your basil crop. To do this, simply clip off any flowers or unsightly leaves or stems then clip the basil at the base of the plant and hang it upside down to dry. (I use thick string or yarn, tying the base together then attaching the other end of the string to where it can hang from). It usually takes about 3-4 weeks to be completely dry. After it is completely dry, take it down, carefully remove the leaves from the stems, crush the leaves (with either a rolling pin or a quick pulse in the blender) and store the crushed leaves in a pint or quart size mason jar. Your fresh dried basil is then ready to use.