When to water, fertilize and prune basil.
Like all divas, basil will perform better when properly cared for. Don't worry, the exquisite taste of these wonderful leaves will make everything worthwhile!
Basil plants do not like soggy soil, but they do require a lot of water.
- Keep the soil moist and water every day (container plants especially) unless of course it is raining. Mulch around the plants with straw to retain moisture.
- Water the base of plants and not their leaves since damp leaves can lead to the development of fungi.
- For the same reason, watering is best done early in the morning.
Fertilize once per month by adding liquid seaweed fertiliser or fish emulsion fertilizer to your water before watering. Follow directions.
- Pinch back the growing tips of plants (growing on top of at least two pairs of leaves) to encourage the growth of new shoots.
- Keep plants from going to flower by pinching off the tips of stems when flower buds form. To pinch, simply use your thumbnail and fingernail.
- Use your fingernails rather than a metal instrument to prevent oxidation or make sure it is clean.
- Harvest throughout the summer.
- Choose the best leaves and cut the entire stem to encourage new growth.
- Pick your basil immediately before using in order to enjoy maximum freshness and flavour.
- July and August are prime harvest months for preserving and freezing.