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Growing Basil

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec

(Best months for growing Basil in Australia - tropical regions)

P = Sow seed

  • Grow in seed trays, and plant out in 4-6 weeks. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed. Best planted at soil temperatures between 18°C and 35°C. (Show °F/in)
  • Space plants: 20 - 25 cm apart
  • Harvest in 10-12 weeks. Pick before flowering.
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Tomato
  • A Basil plant
    A Basil plant
  • Basil flower
    Basil flower

A frost tender low-growing herb. Basil is a culinary herb prominently featured in Italian cuisine, and also plays a major role in the Southeast Asian cuisines of Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. The plant tastes somewhat like anise, with a strong, pungent sweet smell. There are many varieties including, thai, purple ruffles and lemon.

Can be grown inside in pots in winter. As the plant develops, pinch out the top to encourage bushy growth. Pick off flowers to encourage more growth.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Basil

Basil is commonly used fresh in cooked recipes. It is generally added at the last moment, as cooking quickly destroys the flavour. Tear rather than chop.
The fresh herb can be kept for a short time in plastic bags in the refrigerator, or for a longer period in the freezer, after being blanched quickly in boiling water.

Your comments and tips

12 Apr 17, jodie (Australia - temperate climate)
Can basil grow in autumn
13 Apr 17, Jack (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Basil is frost tender and is normally grown as an annual. If you had it in a frost free spot or inside it would carry over Winter. This would give you a supply of basil over winter. Basil is easy to grow from seed and you could sow seed in late Winter inside ready for Spring planting outside.
19 Jun 16, Jennifer (Australia - temperate climate)
When cooking with basil do you use leaves and stems.
26 Jun 16, Lee (Australia - arid climate)
Hi Jen you could use the stems but mostly I strip the leaves and use them only unless I am slow cooking.
25 May 16, Amarjit (USA - Zone 6a climate)
Can I get basil in usa
03 Feb 16, Barry (Australia - temperate climate)
What to feed and when basil plants
02 Feb 16, megan (Australia - temperate climate)
A great tip to stop the slugs eating newly planted basil is to cut the bottom off a plastic coke bottle & cover them with it. Not only does it stop everything from eating your plants they grow super fast in there own little green house. Once they are big enough remove the bottles and you are left with a strong hardy plant.
18 Dec 15, mavis buckmeister (Australia - temperate climate)
i crush garlic and mix it up into a spray with a few drops of lavender oil and nothing eats my basil - its a trick my grandfather taught me many years ago - don't know how or why it works - just know my basil keeps growing beautifully year after year after year.
08 Dec 15, Prometheus (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
Here's a quick tip for dealing with slug and snail damage to basil plants, if that is a problem for you (seems to always happen to me). Make a large spray container's worth of coffee up - you can use instant or ground. Then, add a very small squirt of dishwashing liquid to the bottle and give it a good shake. Sprayed liberally on plants, this makes for an excellent snail and slug repellent (although you do have to reapply after rain / overhead watering). I have lost more basil seedlings than you would believe this year due to a snail / slug army; this is the only way I have managed to have some left for the kitchen. Another item you can buy, which is probably even more effective against slugs / snails, is a product called copper tape. You just tape around the perimeter of your containers or raised beds, and they will stay well away - it gives them something akin to an electric shock. On the downside, it is quite expensive to purchase, even from ebay.
15 Dec 15, dave (Australia - temperate climate)
use 30 cm of copper wire and fashion into a horseshoe this will increase the growth of the plant as well as keeping insects away from it. research lahkovsky machine to understand how this works
Showing 1 - 10 of 48 comments

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This planting guide is a general reference intended for home gardeners. We recommend that you take into account your local conditions in making planting decisions. Gardenate is not a farming or commercial advisory service. For specific advice, please contact your local plant suppliers, gardening groups, or agricultural department. The information on this site is presented in good faith, but we take no responsibility as to the accuracy of the information provided.
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