Basil is an annual plant that’s used in several Italian dishes, but this is a great plant to get creative with when cooking. Basil like it hot, so you’ll want to plant them after the last frost in your area.
up above is a young basil, about 1 month old. it’s about 3” tall which means we can start to prune it up in order to help it grow bigger and bushier. Perferably once it gets this tall you’d want to transplant them so that it has plenty of room for the roots; however, if you don’t have the time to do that yet the other solution is to trim it.
As you can see here, there is lots of new growth under the big leaves, we want lots of big basil leaves for cooking so we are going to trim off the big ones right at the end of the stem so that there isn’t anything in the way for the other leaves. once they’ve been trimmed, the plant will then focus its energy on the new leaves which make them get bigger a lot faster. With basils, you can trim off almost all of the leaves off of it and they’ll still grow more, so you don’t have to worry about accidently killing it.
After you trimmed it, it should look something like this. I left the 2 top leaves alone so that it will continue to shoot up; however, once your basil gets really big you can actually take those two off so that the basil will stop growing up and focus more on the leaves themselves. You can probably harvest the basil once a week, or sometimes more if it’s hot where you live.
Now you have some basil leaves! you can either use them right away or store them for later. If you plan on using them within the same week, just wrap them up in a wet paper towel and stick it into the fridge. If it’s going to be longer than thaat, you can chop them up, fill ice trays with olive oil and put the basil into the olive oil, and into the freezer. you can plop these cubes right into whatever you’re cooking for a nice basil kick.
Sometimes, even young basils will try to flower, which will end your leaf growth. If you want it to go to seed so you can harvest them, then leave it alone and let it do its thing, but if you still want to keep harvesting the leaves, you’ll want to pluck off the litle developing flower on top. It will stop growing up for awhile, but it will find its way.
Once your basils are big and strong, it is very easy to take care of. just harvest when you want basil, pluck off and developing flowers, and remember to water daily with well daining soil. Enjoy!