Basil is a commonly used cooking herb that can be very versatile. It is often used in small quantities for flavoring and goes very well with tomatoes and tomato sauce. It can also be used to flavor mozzarella cheese, or used in large quantities to make pesto. Basil is an excellent companion plant for tomatoes when grown together in a garden.
Starting: Basil can be started indoors up to six weeks before the average last frost. It can typically be safely planted outside by May 15th.
Sunlight: Basil requires 6-8 hours of sunlight a day, so make sure to start it in a sunny window and move it to a sunny bed.
Water: Basil should be kept in moist soil with good drainage. In the heat of summer, it will need to be watered frequently as it dries out quickly. Using mulch can keep the soil damp even when it is hot out because mulch retains moisture.
Spacing: Basil should be planted 10-12 inches apart when put into its final growing location.
Misc. Tips: Pruning basil regularly and cutting off stems that are about to flower is the best way to keep it growing and producing more leaves. Flowering is an energy-intensive process, which means leaf growth is halted when flowers are produced.