Herbs > Basil Herb

Information on, uses of and how to grow basil:

Name
Ocimum basillicum.

Family
Labiate.

History
Originally from India. Keats wrote a poem about it "Isabella and the pot of Basil".

Seeds
Buy Basil Seeds (Over 20 varieties of both Organic and Non-Organic seeds) from The Green Chronicle (Pay in $US, £, Euro).
Herbs, Seasonings. Seeds and Spices - Buy Basil from Mountain Rose Herbs ($US)

How to grow
Propagation from seed grown in the greenhouse or very warm sheltered place outdoors. Put 2-3 seeds per pot and harden off for planting out in the summer. Plant out 20cm apart and keep well watered but beware of over-watering as the plant can develop damping off disease.

Soil condition/position
Plant out in a sunny, sheltered position in light, rich soil. When the plants are established you can pinch out the centres (use the leaves in the kitchen) to encourage bushy growth.

Appearance
Basil has large shiny leaves and white flowers. There are quite a few different varieties of Basil: Lemon, Lime, Lettuce Leaved, Genovese to mention a few.

Uses
Add Basil to butter sauces for fish dishes and use in tomato, egg and mushroom dishes. Basil has a very strong flavour which increases with cooking.

If you have a question about basil, have a look at our reader's question page on Basil.