Growing herbs, particularly basil, on your square foot garden is an outstanding way to have a kitchen garden right outside your door. Herbs blended with fresh vegetables such as peppers, tomatoes, carrots, radishes, leeks, and beets is simple to do with the method of square foot gardening.
Especially ‘Sweet Genovese’, is the most appropriate for Italian pesto. But, be sure and experimentation with basil flavors like cinnamon, licorice, and lemon that are also great in many dishes. Six plants of “Sweet Genovese’ will yield sufficient leaves to make pesto all summer long without you being overrun. Needless to say, it’s easy to suspend any selection of this fantastic herb if necessary.
Another variety to attempt, especially if you’re fond of Asian cuisine, is ‘Siam Queen’. A spicy Thai basil, with an intense flavor and fragrance all its own, makes it a excellent option. Another wonderful alternative is ‘Saint Basile’ that was introduced to Europe from the sixteenth century as a medicinal and culinary herb. You might want to experiment and have fun growing all the different types of basil in your garden.
Many kinds of basil seeds are available at garden centers beginning in February. Even more varieties, such as those mentioned previously, may be found on the internet from seed companies. Some businesses, like Pinetree Seeds, cater to square foot anglers by providing smaller number of seeds per packet.
Growing and Caring for Basil
There are two ways to grow basil. The first method is to start seeds within 4 to 6 months before the last spring frost date, or choose to start seeds out well after all risk of frost has passed and the soil is warm.
The second method to grow basil is by buying transplants (plants prepared to set out) from the local garden center. These are typically sold in 4 inch pots.
One good guideline for when to plant is that in the event that you will need a sweater outside, it is too chilly for basil. To give your plants the best opportunity to flourish, plant them out after all chances of frost are gone and it is nice and warm.
Among the advantages of square foot gardening is that you can put plastic over your raised bed to warm up the soil. If you get surprised by a cold breeze following the frost-free date, as we did a few years back, simply pace a glass cloche or greenhouse hoop above your mattress for protection.
When planting basil on your square foot garden, it’s a great idea to plant it next to your berries so as to help them develop stronger and more flavorful. Plant basil one per square foot if you don’t plan on harvesting very frequently. Plant two per square foot should you plan on harvesting frequently to use fresh, dried (least desired ), or frozen.
During the growing season pinch off flower buds to conserve the plants energy for foliage development. Pinch stems just above the leaf nodes where new stems will sprout. If you have two basil plants planted per square foot, then focus on harvesting the lateral stalks to prevent them from becoming too bloated.
Harvest basil anytime and use just the leaves for cooking. Stems may be put in the compost pile. You will quickly find that growing herbs, particularly basil, is simple to do with Mel’s method of square foot gardening. It’s been a proven system for more than 25 years all around the world. Create your own kitchen garden on your deck or anywhere beside your house for simple access and to create growing herbs that much simpler.