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.
Christmas Day is only two weeks away, and if you are struggling to buy the perfect gift for your favourite gardener or DIYer, we have you covered!
Cypress mulch is a fragrant, long lasting, insect repelling, budget friendly mulch that is perfect for a whole range of garden applications. Applying a generous layer of mulch to your garden beds before your Christmas visitors arrive will ensure your gardens look tip top.