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Think about it: Where would the world's favorite dishes be today without the extra flavoring that comes from basil? It's probably the "sexiest" herb in the garden and for several reasons. Basil is seductive to the senses. It entices all who get near her rich green leaves and bold aromatic scent. The leafy herb comes from the mint family and delivers wonderful flavor to so many foods and drinks:
Best of all, you can grow organic basil in a pot, and enjoy your own fragrant and abundant yield all year-round as you desire it.
You can shop for organic basil at the grocery store, but there is no guarantee of freshness. There's always the possibility that the herb might have been exposed to some kind of contaminant, and that could come from natural and/or unnatural sources. Growing your own organic basil in a pot is also economical, pure, and you maintain control over how and when you store your basil.
Deep Root Zone Matters
This elegant, peppery-tasting herb can thrive in a pot both indoors and outdoors (depending on where you live) but needs these basics:
Daily Water (hot days)
Some Organic Fertilizers
To grow crazy-large organic basil, your pot or container should have some depth to it. Gardening experts recommend large pots or even window boxes. In other words, the deeper the root zone the better, and the plant won't be so thirsty and dry out as easily.
Fabric "Smart Pots" are excellent for growing basil because these porous containers are light-weight and aid the basil plant in developing an efficient and fibrous root system. Choose a 3- or 4-gallon size pot for each plant.
Window boxes are also a cool way to watch your basil grow because their eager roots can spread out along the bottom of the box. You can add about four plants to a window box.
Plastic pots that resemble genuine terracotta containers are suitable for growing basil. A real terracotta pot, however, is not the best for growing the herb because its clay base can dry out the plant more rapidly. You would have to water twice as much. Plastic containers are ideal for mini-basil plants, and you could group a trio into a 12-inch pot, for example.
Choose Quality Potting Mix
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A great organic plant is always healthier and more delicious due to its mineral-rich and nutrient-dense base soil. Chemicals and synthetics rob a plant of its natural purity, so select the proper products before you go potting.
Organic farmers recommend soaking your basil plants first in a diluted solution of organic liquid seaweed. This type of fertilizing formula builds healthy plants by encouraging a stronger root system, creating resistance to disease and frost and retarding the aging process in plants.
Your organic potting mix choice is also key as these premium soils have been designed specifically for organic container growing. The right mix provides nutrients, promotes proper drainage and supports root growth for bigger, heartier plants.
Any Basil is Beautiful
If you thought that there was just one type of basil you could grow, then, you would be sadly mistaken. The herb has a variety of fragrant and delicious types, according to the seasoned pros at The Old Farmer's Almanac.
Sweet basil is very popular, but there is also Thai basil with a licorice taste, lemon basil with a classic citrus flavor and purple basil with a spicy taste.
These gorgeous plants not only offer a special zing to foods and drinks but a lovely leafy ornamental look to your outdoor or indoor space as they grow and prosper. For example, Thai basil features purple stems and blooms with green leaves reaching 12 to 16 inches tall.
The almanac also offers excellent tips on everything basil. For instance, "If you pick regularly, twelve basil plants will produce 4 to 6 cups of leaves per week."
Growing your own bounty of organic basil offers wonderful advantages, and you don't need an acre to plant it. The herb does beautifully in pots of various sizes, and even beginners can reap an abundant harvest within weeks. Today's herbs are often imported from countries with less stringent standards of purity. Growing organic basil in a pot is simple, rewarding and the way nature intended.
Andrew Dang is a DIYer and founder of Simply Home Tips. He likes to share his experience through detailed guidelines and pictures on home improvement, gardening, DIY projects, and woodworking. Connect with Andrew on Twitter and Pinterest.
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