Basil is an herb that originated in India, and that has a sweet, aromatic flavor. It can be used fresh or after having been dried. It's often used while preparing foods, such as fish, meat and salads, and is also used in sauces [source: Britannica]. Basil is also used as an infusion in hot baths or steeped in hot water and drunk as a tea [source: Perry]. Here's how to grow basil:
- Plant your basil in a spot that gets six to eight hours of sun a day.
- Plant your seeds directly in the ground after the last frost. Plant the seeds evenly and cover them with ¼ inch (6.35 millimeters) of soil. Alternatively, you can start your basil plants indoors in a flowering pot six to eight weeks before the winter frost is gone, and then transplant them outside after the last frost.
- Water the seeds after planting.
- Keep the soil moist and well watered while the seeds germinate. This should take between five and seven days.
- Transplant the seedlings once they have two or three pairs of leaves. You want them to be 6 to 12 inches (15 to 30 centimeters) apart from each other.
- Remove any weeds that sprout up around your basil plants. Place mulch around your plants to reduce the amount of weeds that sprout up.
- Harvest your basil constantly throughout the growing season [source: Cahill, University of Minnesota].
You can store your basil leaves either by freezing them whole or by drying them. Store your frozen basil in sealed, plastic bags. Store your dried basil in an airtight container [source: Cahill, University of Minnesota].