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Greek Basil is a perennial culinary herb. It is native to tropical regions from central Africa to Southeast Asia. There are many varieties of the plant with different shapes of leaves and aroma. The leaves of the Basil are soft and fragile. Many cultures use it as an herb but it also repels some insects like mosquitos.
Our organic Greek Basil comes from the Mediterranean region and is famous for its intense aroma and small vivid green leaves - perfect for your favorite pesto recipe. This variety is very different from the Basil that can be bought at your local store or nursery. It was brought from Europe and can be found in not that many urban farms. This assortment of Basil is also called Greek Columnar because of its unique growth habit. While it reaches 91 cm (3 foot) tall, it only grows by 25 cm (10 inch) across, resulting in a majestic columnar look. This lovely Basil has an upright, columnar habit that makes it possible to pack more crops into smaller spaces. It is one of the stronger-flavored representatives of the Basil family and it is amazing for stews and hearty dishes.
Not only it tastes amazing but organic Basil also has some incredible health benefits that many do not know about. One of Basil's best health benefits is that it is a great source of antioxidants. Basil contains water-soluble flavonoids that can help protect white blood cells. Basil helps with the fight against free radical damage and is good for your digestion. It also improves your skin health, supports your liver, and helps people with diabetes.
Preparation for planting Greek Basil
Basil can grow as perennial in hardiness zones 9 and above, or indoors. In most regions, it has to be replanted annually. So, we advise you to pick a place with full sun and use any well-drained, rich, loose soil. Wait until the overnight temperatures go above 20 °C (68 °F). Leave at least 20 cm (8 inch) space between the plants as it grows tall and loves the sun. It can reach between 30 cm (12 inch) and 91 cm (3 foot), and even more in the right environment.
If you plan to cook with this herb, plant them in clean soil, do not use insecticides and grow them away from driveways and busy roads to prevent exhaust from settling on the plant.
How to grow Greek Basil
Basil develops well in indoor containers at any moment of the year as long as you can provide sufficient light. Pick a location that receives 6 to 8 hours of sunlight a day at least.
For outdoor cultivation, sow Basil seeds from mid-April to mid-May and move them in June to the garden, or do immediate sowing in late-May or early June. Just wait for the soil to get warmed and sow your organic Basil seeds evenly by covering them with approximately 0.5 cm (1/4 inch) soil. The seeds are expected to grow in 5-10 days. You will be able to recognize the seedling by the D-shaped seed leaves that will have the flat sides facing toward each other. As soon as you notice more pairs of leaves, you should separate the Basil plants to be about 15-20 cm (6-8 inch) apart.
Growing Greek Basil indoors
Although Basil is a commonly grown outdoor herb, it is also possible to grow this easy-care plant indoors. You can actually grow Basil indoors much the same as you would in the garden.
We suggest growing a few Basil plants in containers so that before falling frost you can take them indoors. Or create second outdoor sowing in June to have tiny crops for the winter to pot up and take indoors. As frost nears, some steam of Basil in the garden can also be cut off and rooted in water to be potted later.
Caring for Basil plant
You need to water the plant 3-5 times a week, depending on the temperature and humidity. Make sure the soil is moist most of the time. It can survive dry spells but do not wait for too long, especially if you see its leaves wrinkle.
Basil can be affected by multiple fungal illnesses, including fusarium wilt, gray mold, and black spot, as well as seedlings damping-off. Avoid these issues by waiting to plant outside until the soil is warmed and crops should not be overcrowded. Japanese beetles may skeletonize leaves of plants but this can be controlled manually by handpicking the pests.
Keep the soil moist and ensure that any weeds are removed.
How to harvest Basil
It may take 50 to 75 days before Basil is ready for harvest. Looking at the plant may indicate when it is possible to harvest. After plants have been established you can start with light-harvesting by just picking some leaves. It is best done when the temperature is cooler and the leaves are less likely to wilt. In our experience, it is best to harvest the morning Basil when the most flavor is retained.
You can harvest the plant after it grows above 20 cm (8 inch). An adult plant can be harvested continuously as long as you leave some branches with leaves. If you pinch the tips of a branch, it will grow more branches with leaves at the spot and become dense. It will stop growing once it starts blooming, you can keep pinching its tips to prevent that. Wash and dry the unbruised leaves after harvesting the Basil. To preserve them fresh before using do not store below 10 °C (50 °F) because they will turn black. For the full harvesting wait just before your organic Basil starts to flower. If you are planning to make a large batch of pesto this is the best time of doing that. Harvest your herb by cutting half of the plant 8-10 cm (4-6 inch) above the ground fostering a second growth. When picking the leaves remember that they are easily bruised, so handle them carefully. You can extend this period and delay flowering by pinching or clipping off new flower buds.
How to store Basil
Basil is best fresh, but by drying or freezing it can be preserved too. If you want to put them in your freezer just wash, dry, and place the fresh Basil leaves in a freezer-safe container.
You can also tear the leaves into small pieces and freeze small lots of them in ice cube trays with water or oil. Once frozen, the cubes can be saved and labeled for later use in zip-lock type bags. This will maintain Basil's fresh flavor for up to four months.
Planted next to tomato will enhance their vigor and flavor. Growing tomatoes and Basil near each other is said to make each crop taste better.
Our Basil is also a good companion for asparagus, oregano, marigold, snapdragon, and peppers.
Basil helps to repel flies, mosquitoes, and thrips.
- Planting seasonindoors mid-April to mid-May
- Number of seeds1 seed per spot
- Depth0.5 cm (1/4 inch) deep
- Days to maturity50 days
- Row spacing15-20 cm (6-8 inch) apart
- In-row spacing15-20 cm (6-8 inch) apart
- Sunlight6-8 hours of direct sunlight
- Watering3-5 times a week
- Harvesting7 to 10 weeks after seeding
- PlantOrganic Greek Basil
- Planted on
- First seedlings date
- First harvest date