Basil is one of the most valuable plants in the garden, and is a perfect flavouring with tomatoes. They are easy to look after and they contribute much to many different types of dishes in the kitchen.
The edible basil that is most familiar to most people would be Sweet or Italian Basil, Ocimum basilicum. The plant has large, soft, fragrant, lush foliage that is frost tender, so it grows well through summer and throughout the year in warmer areas of Australia.
Basil can be grown in containers or in the ground. They are sun-loving plants so a warm location is desirable. The size of the leaves can be a guide to where they can be located in the garden. The larger the leaf the more shade they will tolerate, so small leaved plants need to capture the most sun.
The leaves of purple leaved varieties will bleach in full sun and are best positioned to get morning sun with protection from the hot afternoon sun. Basil is an annual and is usually grown from seed.
It is best grown from Australian packed seed as it generally has some resistance to fungal disease. Place a pinch of seed on top of potting medium, cover with a light dressing of potting mix, and place the container in morning sun and the seedlings will sprout within a couple of weeks.
A fantastic soil to grow all your veggies is our own Premium Blend soil. It is loaded with organic nutrients to get your basil off to the best start.
Alternatively seedlings can be bought and grown on. Punnets of basil can sometimes have multiple stems.
These plants usually have tangled stems and are best divided into two rather than attempt to have too many divisions that may not survive. Spray the foliage with a water-soluble nitrogen fertiliser to keep fresh, lush, healthy green new growth.
Flower spikes should be continually pruned. To prolong the life of the plant, begin harvesting the leaves when the stems have become woody.
The warm soils of late spring in early November are best for planting, which will allow the leaves to be ready for picking by from early December until mid May.
The best way to get your garden thriving and maximise the warmth and rain provided by Mother Nature, is to mulch. There are so many types of mulch to choose from, and it is important that you pick one that is best for your particular project.
Unscreened sand is soil that has been excavated from dig outs around the Sunshine Coast, and is ideal to use for levelling or filling in low areas. This soil is quite clean, but has not been broken down or sifted in any way and may have roots, weeds, sticks and rocks in it.
Hurray for the rain! And now we can talk about rain gardens, and how they can make an attractive decorative addition to your garden, as well as conserve precious water.