lucky bamboo, herbs, flowers and life
Thursday, May 04, 2006,11:54 AM
Planting Herbs for summer - part 3: Basil
Basil is a popular member of mint family grown specially for seasoning. There are many uses of basil herb- Greeks uses it to prepare holy water, Indian uses it for seasoning in almost all foods, Egyptian and European believe that it makes journey of the dead safe, it is used as herbal remedy for diseases of lungs, heart, kidney and nervous system. Now that you know how important is basil for both food, body and spiritual point of view then why not plant some basil herbs this summer.

Here is my quick and dirt guide on planting basil in your garden and pots. But first you have to decide which variety to plant. There are many variety available in the market but if you are planting for seasoning then I suggest you go with sweet basil or bush basil. Basil propagates easily by stem cutting. Place the cutting in clean water and change water weekly. Cutting roots in one month's time.

Site selection.
Basil loves sun. So look for a spot that gets full sunlight. If you are planting basil in pots then keep them outside where they can receive full sun. Soil should be well-drained and rich in organic matter.

Basil is best grown from seeds though plants are also readily sold in plant nurseries. Sow the seeds in ground when the risk of frost is over. Seeds doesn't need cold-treatment and germinates quickly. Plant them at a distance of half foot.

Diseases and Care.
  • Basil's most notorious disease is probably Fusarium wilt caused by the fungus Fusarium oxysporum that stunts growth and causes wilting. Heat kills this fungus so its advisable to wait till the soil temperature reaches 60 F before planting them. Also insure proper sanitation, aeration and drainage.
  • Basil is also prone to root rot cause by fungi Pythium and Phytophthora and is aggravated by overwatering.
  • Do not use insecticides and pesticides because it will enter your meal when you include basil for seasoning.
  • Dilute vinegar and natural soap solution can be sprayed to prevent common infections.
  • If you notice black patchy leaves on your plant then just prune them and check whether potassium content of soil is below normal.
  • Whiteflies in young plants can removed by strong water spray.
  • Yellow leaves towards the bottom of the plant are an indication that the plant needs more sunlight. Excess of fertilizer is another reason for yellow leaves. Move it to a place where it can get more sunlight and stop fertilizing for few weeks.

  • To accelerate more leaf and branch growth and get bushier plant pinch of tips of plant.
  • Flowers takes lot of energy, so remove then as they appear to channel that energy for more leaf growth.
  • Use fresh basil for seasoning, do not collect and store in refrigerator because it turns black in low temperature.
Categorie : Herbs
posted by RM
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