Last week we explored the basics of tomato growing. A great companion for tomato plants is fresh, summery basil! You can add it to salads, make pesto, saute it with summer veggies or add it to pasta dishes. Some varieties work great in curries, and a little chopped basil over your fresh tomato plants is an easy and healthy snack! Basil, in all it’s forms, is one of the most popular herbs for today’s dishes and it’s surprisingly easy to grow!
Better yet, growing basil is a great way to save money! Whereas fresh basil can cost up to 2.00 a package at the store, you can buy one basil plant for about 3.00 (or grow your own from seed for less than pennies a plant) and have basil all season long! They’re heat tolerant, come in numerous varieties, and can be grown in a garden bed or in a pot on the porch.
Basil can be a wonderful plant for children to grow because they can help harvest the leaves daily and add them to dinners for some fresh taste! Want to get started? Here’s how:
1. Choose a variety. Basil comes in numerous varieties, each with their own unique flavor. Thai Basil is great for southeast Asian dishes and Genovese Basil is great for pastas and pestos. If you purchase your plant at a farmer’s market, speak with the grower about which variety might be right for you. They all taste great, so you really can’t go wrong. Click on this link for a helpful list of varieties.
2. Pick a sunny spot in the garden or on your porch to either plant the plant in the ground or in a good-size pot. Basil needs about 8 hours of sun a day.
3. Water daily and prune regularly to keep plant growing strong. Watch the video below for a great tutorial on pruning basil: