One of the most important steps of growing an exuberant batch of basil is the harvest. Here are a few beginner tips on how to harvest basil!
How to pick basil
Are you thinking of growing your own basil but know nothing about basil care or how to harvest basil? It may seem like a complicated process but trust me, it’s so easy peasy!
Because it’s not a very picky plant and it’s pretty easy to grow and care for, basil deserves a place in your garden for the beneficial effects it has on other plants, and for the amazing flavor it gives to your homemade food. If you’re a regular here, you may have noticed I’ve used basil in a few dishes, like this Strawberry, basil and black pepper smoothie or this easy and quick Spicy Gazpacho soup.
I simply got hooked on the spicy minty flavor! I love the basil scent so much I go picking basil just to catch a whiff of this amazing scent! Basil is undoubtedly one of the most popular plants, with its unmistakable aroma, a mixture of cloves, mint and lemon, making it great in soups, sauces, salads, pasta, meat and vegetables.
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Since we’ve moved into a new house a few years ago I fell in love with gardening and since I love basil so much I had no choice but to learn how to grow and how to harvest basil. As a total rookie, I of course stumbled a lot of issues, went through even more oops moments and yes, I have shed a few tears, both of frustration and joy, when my hard work has finally payed off.
That was the case with my basil batch! I never ever cared for any aromatic plants, basil included so I didn’t know much about harvesting fresh basil, which I found is one of the most important step in growing a healthy batch of basil. If you are a beginner gardener and love your basil batch as much as I do, you’ll hopefully find these tips useful which could only make me super happy!
Before learning how to harvest basil, I’d like to offer a few tips on growing basil, which I trust you’ll find beneficial to your gardening experience.
- If you plant basil from seeds, it’s better if you start the process in a pot, until the plant grows a few inches. Then transfer to your garden, in well drained soil, in the spring.
- Make sure you plant basil in a sunny place as basil loves and thrives in full sun.
- If you keep the plant in a pot in the house, place it in a sunny window.
- Keep the soil moist but not wet which means don’t over-water your plant. Test the soil with your fingers and only water if it’s dry. if it feels a little moist wait for a day or two before watering. Be aware the soil in a pot gets dry easier than in the garden so you need to wet the indoor plants more often.
- Plant basil next to tomatoes or peppers, it helps these plants grow faster and healthier.
- Regular harvest will keep plants growing strong and prevent flowering.
How to harvest basil
- Regularly pinch off the tips with young leaves, to encourage the plant to fill out.
- When picking leaves, take a few from each plant.
- Don’t cut whole stems but rather pick individual leaves from each stem.
- Pick the leaves starting from the top down but don’t pick all leaves from a plant as mentioned above. If you need to harvest large amounts of basil, leave at least two leaves per branch to stimulate forking and help the plant to fill out.
- Remove and discard flower buds as they’re not edible. Keep them if you plan to use the seeds to grow a new basil batch from seeds. Or use them to garnish your dishes.
- At the end of fall season, just before the first frost, pick all leaves and cut the stems to the ground.