Edible Gardening: Basil

The sweet, fragrant leaves of basil add a delicious, licorice-like flavour to salads and tomato-based dishes.

Features: Fragrant, Decorative leaves, White or Light Purple flowers

Height: 30 – 60cm – 1.5cm (12 – 24”)

Spread: 30cm – 35 m (12 – 18”)

Getting Started

Basil is easy to start from seed. Start seeds indoors about four weeks before the last frost date, or sow seed directly outdoors once the last frost date has passed and the solid has warmed up. Press seeds into the soil and sift a little more soil over them. Keep the soil moist. Generally seeds will germinate within a week.

Source: Pexels

Tips: Although basil grows best in a warm spot outdoors, it can be grown successfully indoors in a pot by a bright window, providing you with fresh leaves all year. Pinch off any flowering tips that form to encourage leaf production.

Basil makes a great companion for tomatoes because they both require warm, moist growing conditions and are delicious when eaten together.

Growing Conditions

Basil grows best in a warm, sheltered location in full sun. The soil should be fertile, moist and well drained. Pinch the tips regularly to encourage bushy growth. Mulch soil to retain water and keep weeds down.

Harvest Time

Pluck leaves or pinch back stem tips as needed. Basil is tastiest if used fresh, but it can be dried or frozen for use in winter.

Pest Control

Fusarium wilt is probably the worst problem that afflicts basil.


O. Basilicum is a bushy annual or short-lived perennial with bright green, fragrant leaves. It bears white or light purple flowers in mid to late summer. There are many cultivars of basil, with varied least size, shapes, colours and flavours.

References: “The Canadian Edible Garden (Vegetable, Herbs, Fruits and Seeds)” by: Alison Beck. Pp. 64-65.



Author's Corner

Sweet, I blame you not, for mine the fault was, had I not been made of common clay. I had climbed the higher heights unclimbed yet, seen the fuller air, the larger day. From the wildness of my wasted passion I had struck a better, clearer song, Lit some lighter light of freer freedom, battled with some Hydra-headed wrong. – Oscar Wilde

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