Basil – Ocimum basilicum


The Ocimum [labiatae/ lamiaceae] are a genus of about 365 species of aromatic annuals and evergreen herbs. But – this is not lavender we are discussing. This is the herb we know as basil. With that in mind I am only interested in one type.

There are other varieties, but I have chose what I regard a the more common basil [to me] or what is know commercially as sweet basil. It is an annual and therefore completes its life cycle in one season.

Either or the entire of the ocimum basilicum’s are renowned as either short lived perennials or annuals. They are tender little things that, horticulture aside most people have very little, or less luck with. Any deviation from that truth and your pants are on fire or you work for NASA – and yes they can hear you. Back to the herbs…

For me, I prefer to grow mine from seed and there literally is no major secret [there is of course 😉 ] to doing so. Simply fill a jam jar with compost. Firm slightly and place on the kitchen window ledge. Add a little patience and play the waiting game. Some say, sow them in rediculous rows 8″ apart – but I like to scatter a few across the top and stuff the rule book. Its more fun as well.

The scent from them is amazing. I chose not to feed them either. Its just me and food crops. And if I end up with too much from cropping…. I freeze them to get me through the winter. Next year, I’ll start all over again. As a btw, you should get about 300 seeds in a pack… use what you must and put the rest [in the packet] in the freezer.

6 replies
  1. shegunner
    shegunner says:

    Your basil blog is lovely. I have pretty good luck with it grown outside in deep containers. Here in upper Midwest USA, with a short growing season, by the time crowding becomes an issue, frost becomes a bigger one.

    Tradition says you must curse at it to make it grow, but that’s not been my experience. I make mine into pesto and freeze that over the winter.

  2. donnam13
    donnam13 says:

    basil is my most favorite herb but i cant grow it to save my life so i always buy it. by end of summer its looking sad and most of the leaves are gone from me using them in my salads and curries… this year though, i bought a huge plant and its in my new raised bed garden and i so plan on having it last longer 😉 Jam jar eh? never thought of that!

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