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I can’t do my cooking without my little precious on the windowsill: my basil plants! (That I also used in this very simple basil tomato soup.) But how do you make sure they keep producing their delicious leaves for a long time? In this post I want to give some tips and tricks on how to make sure that your basil plant will stay healthy and keeps producing new leaves.
In the Netherlands there is usually some kind of stamp or thing that you can collect when spending a certain amount of money, whether it is soccer cards or seals for knives. But the best thing we sometimes get are “moestuintjes“(kitchen gardens)! Moestuintjes are packages that contain seeds, dried dirt and instructions on how to take care for your new baby plants. My tomato plant is still having a hard time growing big, but one thing that grows very well in the kitchen are the basil plants. They have been with me for a year now, and will definitely be able to produce for another year.
So here are a few tips on how to care and harvest your basil!
How to plant
If you want to start from scratch and grow the plant yourself, stuff a plant pot with soil, place the seed on top and push them into the soil. Make sure the plants have enough room to grow, so that they will all get enough sunlight.
Basil plants like sun and warmth, so a windowsill or sunny balcony are the perfect places. The seeds can start to sprout within a week when it is around 22 degrees Celsius.
In order to prevent dehydration, it is important to water them every day. It is best not to put the water directly on the leaves, because the leaves are very delicate so placing the pot on a plate with water will be safest. If the pot does not have any holes in the bottom, placing it on a plate with water will obviously not work. It this case it is important to pour the water directly on the ground.
Especially with the summer heat the plant needs to be kept hydrated, since the water will evaporate quickly. One sign of dehydration is when the leaves start to wither, so check the ground to see if it is not too dry!
The way you harvest is very important when you want the plant to keep producing more leaves. It is best done by cutting the branch, just above the part where two leaves grow on each side. This will stimulate the plant to create more branches and thus more leaves.
In order to keep the full flavor of the basil, it is best to harvest the leaves the moment you are going to use them. As soon as the leaves start to get floppy they will lose their aroma and flavor.
You can also put the plant outside. But make sure that it doesn’t catch too much wind, and is placed in a sheltered spot on the balcony or in the garden.
I hope you guys are eager to try this for yourself. It is not a very difficult plant, and totally worth all the effort you put into them. I am currently trying to grow lime basil, so I hope that they as well will become a huge success!
If you have any tips or ideas, please let me know down in the comments! I’d love to hear about other people’s stories.