Basil is most often used fresh in recipes.
In most cases, it is added at the very end because cooking quickly destroys the flavor. Basil is one of the primary ingredients in pesto — an Italian sauce with olive oil and basil as its main ingredients.
If you wish to have a plentiful basil harvest or plans to have a basil plant this year, you’re on the right track. So, keep reading!
Stacey Murphy shares some quick tips if you want your basil plant to grow big and lush.
This is to ensure that you get the most out of your basil plant.
One basil seedling will last the entire season for one person. It can provide you with enough basil to last the whole season. Herbs that enjoy being pruned respond by growing back and doubling in size, and basil is no exception.
You would learn how to keep your basil plant healthy, how to harvest it frequently, and how to handle it after harvesting to get the most out of it.
Basil is similar to tomato herbs. They are slightly fragile and require different harvesting techniques.
Step one: Begin by planting a healthy basil seedling.
Keep an eye on the basil plant’s physical condition.
First, look for a plant that is dark green on its leaves and stem to ensure a healthy basil seedling.
That indicates that the plant is well-cared for.
A basil plant with yellow leaves or a yellow or brown stem shows that the plant is dying or has not been well cared for.
Next, look for basil plants that are short and bushy.
This reveals that the plant has received enough sunlight. Basil plants that are tall and leggy are not the healthiest seedlings, to begin with.
Then, start growing basil seedling in clumps.
The five stems can be grown together in a small space. It is highly recommended to grow the basil seedling between three to five stems.
Step two: Knowing when to prune.
Basil plants require early pruning. When you cut a basil plant, it bifurcates or splits into two. So you want to cut frequently. When the basil plant’s stem has about three nodes, it’s time to cut it for the first time.
Nodes are areas where new growth sprouts from the stem.
You’ll clip off the plant near the third node (about 6 inches up from the base of the plant) and allow the new growth to grow into new stems.
Step three: Pruning, harvesting, and taking care of the harvest.
Prune repeatedly, which means harvesting frequently. Stacey suggests harvesting basil every week so that you’ll have a steady supply. When you harvest and prune basil, you are essentially keeping it in a vegetative state.
It means that it’s growing leaves rather than flowers.
The reason for its importance is that the progression of a plant is that it starts to grow flowers, then those flowers turn to seeds. Then the plant dies which is not what you want the basil plant to do; instead, you want it to continue to flourish.
In the end, Stacey shared three common mistakes she sees people make when growing basil.
- They aren’t pruning early and often enough, which means they aren’t maximizing their yield.
- Instead of cutting the stems, they pull the leaves off the basil plant. Cutting the stems will increase your yield by doubling it.
- They keep their basil in the fridge, and it basically goes bad before they can use it.
Stacey suggests keeping small bouquets of basil on your countertop after you’ve harvested it.
Remove the lower leaves to create a stem to place in the water. Then, use the lower leaves in your first meal and keep the other stems in water to keep the basil fresh for future meals.
Check out the video below to learn how to get the most out of your basil plant!
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