How to grow basil (and other herbs)
The king of herbs
Basil – the immensely popular herb used for pesto, salads and pasta – is even considered holy in some places of the world. Follow this guide to make your holy urban garden tasty and productive.
Basil grows quite fast and is a good alternative for the impatient grower. As it needs a lot of water, it thrives in the Botanium where it gets watered often and evenly. If you prune it often, you will get a productive plants that will take care of all your basil cravings. Arguably much more practical than buying a plant from the store that is done for once you harvest it.
Choosing a variety
The most common type of basil is Genovese. If you ever bought fresh basil from a store, this is probably what you got. Another common variety is Thai basil, that has characteristic pointy leaves. Some basil have a more lemon-ish taste, while others remind you of liquorice.
How to grow from a seed
Planting the seeds
Plant the seed directly on top of the growing medium in the Botanium. Put around 10 seeds in the middle. As with chili, If you have a cold window sill, you can speed up the germination by putting the Botanium at a warmer spot until It sprouts and need light.
Since basil can be a bit sensitive to high nutrient concentration, use less than what the nutrient bottle says. Using Botanium nutrients, start off with 2 pipettes for one full water tank. Next time you refill your tank, add 5 pipettes instead.
In only a few days, the first seedlings should appear. Perhaps 60% of the seeds germinate.
It might take a few months for this to happen, but as soon as you see buds or flowers appear, tear them off instantly! The basil turns bitter if you allow the flowers to form. As you don’t need any fruits to form, there is no reason to pollinate the plant.
When the plant has reached around 20 cm, prune it by pinching off the top 4 leaf sets, right above a leaf set. The plant will then get new stems at the nodes (at the intersection of the leaf and stem) and gets bushier each time you do it. When the basil is big and the conditions are right, you can prune it several times per week. Don’t harvest too much – save at least 2/3 of the plant each time so it can grow back.
Basil loves sun, so place it in a bright window or under a lamp. It is crucial that especially small seedlings get enough light, as they easily can die. As with other plants, basil grows leggy if they don’t get enough light. Using a grow lamp is a must If you plan to grow during winter in the north.
Use it in salads, on a pizza or make a pesto. Add some mozzarella and tomatoes and you have a caprese! If you harvest more than you can eat – put it in the freezer and use it later. That being said, fresh basil does of course have a superior taste.