Of all the herbs we grow at The Growers Exchange, basil is by far the most popular. Its distinctive flavor adds spice to tomato dishes, salads and many other foods. An annual hot season, it grows four to six feet tall.
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To grow basil outdoors, transplant small plants to a sunny, well-drained place with fertile soil. Plant in a place near your kitchen so the leaves can be collected as needed.
The main reason for basil problems is planting too early. Since basil does not tolerate cool temperatures, it is best to wait until May 1 to plant outdoors. Night temperatures should be around the 1950s.
To grow small amounts of basil at the start of the season, try potted plants in a sunny window. Remember that warmth and lots of sun are necessary for vigorous plants.
Frequent pinching will yield leaves for cooking and keep the plants tight and bushy.
To preserve the basil, puree the leaves and freeze them in ice cream trays, or if you are drying the leaves, microwave them to prevent the leaves from darkening. Grow a succession of plants to ensure a regular supply of leaves.