To ensure a bountiful harvest and a chance to propagate your basil plant so it will grow back next year, your herb has to be healthy this year.Remove flowers to encourage new leaves at the start of the season.By pruning back your basil leaves, the plant will have room to flourish and produce a tasty harvest.Prune every few weeks to have fresh basil all season.Though it seems counterproductive, the more you snip off, the more basil leaves the plant will grow.At the end of the season, allow a few flowers to grow so it will produce the seeds needed for your basil to grow back after a year.You can then plant them indoors and keep basil growing all year, or save the seeds in an airtight container to plant outside next year.Basil Cuttings Root in Water.Once the roots are at least 2 inches long, replant the basil indoors in rich, fertilized soil in a well-drained container. .

Can Basil Survive the Cold Winter Months?

Basil experiences damage right away when temperatures dip, so make sure you have a way to protect your plant.As with many annual herbs, basil is meant to live its life cycle within one year and thereafter go back to its seed stage.Some garden enthusiasts try to keep it alive by protecting potted basil inside greenhouses or even a room in their homes.A great solution to this problem is shifting to artificial light sources in the darker winter months.Around 12 hours of light and keeping the soil warm and drained from excess of water is a good starting point.In case you stick to natural light, your basil plant needs to live in front of a window during the day and be protected from the morning cold.An indoor basil plant with full sun and steady, warm temperatures may last even longer.Even when basil can survive the cold months of winter, you need to accept this popular plant for what it is: An annual herb.Even then, you can follow these tips to help extend the life cycle of basil to enjoy it a little longer on your favorite dishes, in pesto, and as a lovely indoor decoration. .

How to grow basil year after year (without spending!)

Even in the families with the worse black thumb imaginable, there is at least one pot of basil sitting on a balcony or windowsill.I’m sort of kicking myself that this never occurred to me before she showed me, because it seems so obvious, but apparently it isn’t just me because most people I know don’t do this.The trick to growing big, full basil plants is to pop the tops off every so often.The plant will continue to grow more full in this way, and you’ll end up with loads of fresh basil for all your cooking needs!Put them on a tray or other open container so that they can continue to dry out completely.I cut the seed pods off my plants as they dry up and put them in this metal pie dish on top of a cabinet.I usually pull the dried seed pods from the stem and store them in a paper envelope.Some years I totally forget the seeds on top of my kitchen cabinets and they spend all winter there.When it gets to be planting season (where I live, around March or April is good, but it should be later in cooler climates), crumble the seed pods onto damp soil, cover with a bit more soil, and water frequently.The classic way to start plants from seed is to use small containers, egg cartons, toilet paper tubes, special seedling planters, etc.to grow each seed separately, then transfer the baby plants to pots or open ground.I am sure that I’m going to get comments from experienced gardeners berating me for this “wrong” method, but it quite honestly works great for me.Every so often we go out and look at the shapes of the leaves, rub our hands over them to smell them, and the kids try to guess what plant it is.So, in the end it is actually really, REALLY easy and totally FREE to grow basil year after year from seed, plus it makes you feel good about your gardening skills and is a fantastic learning experience for kids!If you love gardening and eating freshly picked greens, make sure you check out this great post on how to eat the weeds that grow naturally in your flower pots and garden!Hey, sign up for the Cucicucicoo Newsletter here to keep getting more great natural and ecological living advice, as well as the best tutorials for crafty DIY goodness! .

How to Trim Basil for Big, Bushy Plants and Larger Yields

I’m the opposite, constantly trimming herbs like basil to use fresh, or preserve by drying or freezing.Or, you can plant a variety like Pesto Perpetuo which is sterile and doesn’t produce flowers at all.And when trimming basil it’s best to start early when the seedlings are about six to eight inches tall and have three to four sets of leaves.I like to pinch that main stem back to a strong set of side shoots, removing about one-third of the plant.I prune my basil plants every two weeks or so during the summer to stimulate plenty of growth.In the above paragraphs I outlined how to trim back basil seedlings for the first time to stimulate growth.To trim basil for harvesting or to promote growth, you can use your fingers, hand pruners, or herb snips.I often use my fingers for pinching flowerbuds or trimming top shoots of basil, but if you’re cutting the plants back hard, you may need sharp pruners as you don’t want to tear the stems.Once you decide where you’re going to trim, cut the main stem about a quarter inch above the leaf buds.You can remove just a few stems to flavor your dinner or cut the plant back by a third to gather enough basil to make pesto or to preserve.Stressed out basil plants begin to flower sooner than those given plenty of sunshine, well-drained soil, and consistent moisture.But for most types of basil, it’s inevitable that you’ll see flower buds forming by mid summer.After that initial flower pinching, you’ll need to check every week or so for new flowerbuds and remove those as they appear.Greek basil plants form tight, tidy balls that grow up to a foot wide and tall.Hand pinching buds or flowers from these plants takes some time so I cheat a bit by using my mini herb snips or even garden shears.Finally, as you pinch basil flowerbuds, don’t toss them in the compost, instead use them in the kitchen.They have a wonderful basil flavor and can be used in pesto or sprinkled on salads, dressings, pastas, and pizza.Now that you’ve trimmed back your basil plants, you’ll need to use that delicious bounty ASAP or preserve it for future meals.But if you wish to dry basil, you can use a dehydrator or gather stems in small bundles, tie them with twine, and hang them in a warm room away from direct sunlight.But if you wish to dry basil, you can use a dehydrator or gather stems in small bundles, tie them with twine, and hang them in a warm room away from direct sunlight.Once full, I add a drizzle of olive oil and pulse until the leaves are coarsely chopped.I like to flatten the mixture in the bags so they lay flat in my freezer and it’s easy to break off a chunk in mid-winter when I need a flavor blast of basil in my cooking. .

Tips for Growing Basil in Fall and Winter

I craved sandwiches on ciabatta bread with mozzarella cheese, fresh tomato slices, and aromatic basil leaves.But alas, I couldn’t find any fresh basil at the supermarket, and the local plant nurseries and greenhouses hadn’t opened yet.Mine sprouted after a week of intense Alaskan summer sun, and before long, each plant proudly displayed lots of tiny little leaves.I knew that if I wanted to enjoy fresh O. basilicum in my pasta, pizza, and sandwiches through the winter, I’d have to bring my plant indoors.If you live in Zone 10 or above, you probably don’t need to bring your basil indoors unless temperatures in your area dip below 50°F on a regular basis.Even if temperatures don’t fall below freezing during the winter in some growing zones, they often go as low as 50 or even 40°F, with occasional frosts.As soon as the leaves turn black, this is a sign that they’ve been bitten by the cold and aren’t likely to bounce back.This herb is an annual, so unless you bring it indoors, you’ll have to let it flower and die back, then plant more the following year.Towards the end of summer, your basil will produce little purple flowers – normally you would snip these off, as the leaves can develop a bitter taste when the plant bolts.When the flowers have dried out completely, gently pry them apart and rub them with your fingers over a white plate.But the central and lateral stems will turn woody after about a year, and the leaves produced on older plants won’t be as flavorful.If you take cuttings from an existing plant and propagate them every six months or so, you can have a continual tender supply.If you already have a favorite basil plant that produces lots of tasty leaves, there’s no reason why you can’t keep enjoying it indoors throughout the fall and winter.If you’ve got young kiddos like I do, wait until they’re otherwise occupied before beginning the process of digging up your plant from the garden.My little one loves to help me garden, which is awesome, but some situations require concentration and the absence of adventurous toddler hands.Once you’ve got the root ball free, lift it out of the earth and place it in the waiting pot.Leave about half an inch of headroom between the soil and the lip of the pot so that water doesn’t tumble over the sides.Check the moisture level every day by pushing your fingertip about half an inch down into the soil.When you notice new leaves growing and you know your plant is thriving, give it a deep watering once or twice a week.They make it easy to position the light one to two inches away from the plant, and adjust as the basil grows.Shine the light on your plant a few hours before the sun sets in your kitchen window or wherever it is roosting.Like humans, plants have a circadian rhythm and they depend on phases of both light and darkness in order to function normally.To prune for optimal growth, cut the main stem back to about a quarter of an inch above the bottom set of leaves.Potted basil also makes a thoughtful yet inexpensive gift for your friend who loves those caprese sandwiches as much as you do.

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Why I'm Never Buying Basil Again • Gardenary

Just about that time, my mom came to visit (and help with the babies, thankfully) and showed me how I could crush the ends of those little brown florets between my fingers. .

7 Perennial Herbs to Plant Now

If going the potted route—a great option for those in colder regions looking to get started right away, or anyone who wants year-round harvests—make sure there's a sunny window (or grow lights) available.The small stature of perennial herbs make them great candidates for windowsills, patios, balconies and decks.Uses: Flavoring for beverages and desserts; flowers may be used in dried arrangements, and herbal remedies, like tinctures.Growing Instructions: Plant in well-drained soil in a sunny location; cut off the flower stalks as they fade.Tips to Keep It Thriving: Cut the stalks back by about 30 percent each fall to encourage lush new growth.Uses: An essential ingredient in many savory dishes; the woody stalks of the plant can be cut for use as flavor-enhancing shish kebab skewers.Growing Instructions: Plant in part shade and irrigate several times per week during hot, dry weather; tolerant of poorly drained soil.Tips to Keep It Thriving: As long as they have moisture, mints are hard to kill; more important is to know that you must plant them in pots if you don't want them spreading all over the yard.Bonus: Lemon balm, a mint relative, provides a citrusy zest for your favorite iced beverage.Tips to Keep It Thriving: Cut the stalks back 50 percent in fall to encourage lush new growth.Growing Instructions: Plant in a sunny location and irrigate at least once per week during hot, dry weather. .

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