Howdy folks! 🙂
Excited to post about one of my favorite herbs today – Basil! And my effort to grow my own little backyard stash, because I never want to be out 🙂 I do use dry Basil as well, but nothing can beat the aroma and X-factor that fresh herbs bring to a dish.
I know in these parts, the preferred term is ‘Spices’, likely because of the negative association ‘Herbs’ have with ‘Herbalists’ – This is Africa after all lol 🙂 But a herb is simply any plant with leaves, seeds, or flowers used for flavoring, food, medicine, or even perfume. So, don’t be afraid! ;).
Fresh basil is great with most things, but particularly with tomatoes, eggplants, salads, pizza and many pasta dishes. I will actually share one pasta dish with Basil in it, in my next post 😉
Hope you can also start your own mini- project, and share so we can exchange notes 🙂 Here’s what you’ll need :
Fresh Herbs : BasilDifficulty: Medium
Potting soil/Fertilizer mix
Basil Seedlings /Basil seeds
Medium sized stones and a bit of gravel
- This is where it all starts. With Seeds 🙂 I think the picture on the packet comes in handy when picking the exact herb you’re looking for, because in different stores, different parts of the world, the same herb would be branded differently e.g. Bush basil, sweet basil, wild basil etc etc. So the picture does help 😉
- I will also mention that most ‘gardening stores’ do sell already grown seedlings that you would just buy and take home to transplant right away. No harm in this, but if you’re growing basil from scratch, you can get a seedling box like this one. Fill the boxes with soil and then plant the seeds. Lightly water the soil. It will take about a week or 2 for the seedlings to germinate.
- After 2 weeks, you can then transplant the seedlings either into a prepared bed in the ground, or into a flower box, like I did 🙂
- So this is what I used. A flower box. Make sure there’s at least a couple of holes in the bottom for drainage. Do layer some pebbles or medium sized stones in the bottom, and then add a bit of gravel as well, before putting in your soil.
- Then I went into the garden and dug up some dirt! 🙂
- If you have really good soil, then that’s all you’ll need, but I typically mix in a third of this professional potting mix – with added fertilizer, for the extra nutrients it comes with. Just to make sure my plants don’t die of malnutrition lol! 🙂
- After mixing the soil and potting mix well, we are now ready to transplant 🙂
- Dig a few holes about 5cm deep, and transplant 1 Basil plant into each hole. Because my box is small, I was not going to fit more than 10 plants in there. The plants do need to have some space between them.
- Once all the plants are in, lightly water them and place the box in a well lit area. Keep them moist.
- After a few days, the plants have taken root in their new home and are growing strong – In a few weeks (perhaps 3 or 4) they will be ready to use, as and when, in my Kitchen 🙂
- Here’s a Before and After photo lol. When harvested and dried, we get the ‘spice’ on the right, and we also get dishes like the one shown below to taste and enjoy! 🙂