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Sweet Basil - Seeds
Delicious, fragrant, multi-purpose Sweet Basil is one of the all-time most popular culinary herbs to grow indoors and out. This variety is very easy to grow, germinates quickly, and is fast to mature.
This is THE classic Italian basil. A staple in most pesto recipes and a popular addition to tomato-based dishes. Delicious on pizza and with pasta. A must with tomato and mozzarella or buffalo cheese (with a little balsalmic drizzled over the top, yum!). Grow your own for a sweeter taste (store-bought Basil tends to have a more bitter edge to the taste).
About this herb
Variety: Sweet Basil (Genovese Basil)
Botanical name: Ocimum basilicum
Popular for: Italian dishes, pizza and pasta, bruschetta, served with tomatoes and mozzarella, Caprese Salad, pesto
Sow depth: Shallow, 3mm
Germination in: 10 to 12 days
Mature in: 6 weeks
When to sow: Outdoors - North and South Island: Spring to early Autumn. Indoors - All year round if house is heated in winter, grow light required in winter.
Sweet Basil is also called Genovese Basil. It has big, tasty leaves, is a hardy, fast grower, and has a wonderful aroma that wafts through the air at the slightest touch. A popular choice for hydro and indoors as it prefers containers and likes being bunched together with other herbs and plants.
Pinch back frequently for bushier, compact growth. Germinates easily so don't go overboard sowing all your seeds at once (or thin out extras after germination). Can be cut and dried to store for later use.
The big, dark green leaves will curl under slightly as it matures, a good sign your Basil is happy and healthy. They like part sun and part shade so a spot outdoors that gets both over the course of the day is ideal, or a grow light is best for indoors if you don't have the perfect sunny spot. Morning to midday sun tends to be tolerated better than the scorching afternoon sun but it depends on the time of year.
Basil does produce flowers which are quite pretty - and edible - but because plants allowed to produce flowers will put their energy into the flowers not the leaves, the flavour of the leaves will suffer (they become bitter), so I recommend trimming the flowers when they do appear.
Basil is super easy to propagate from stem cuttings too, so take a good size cutting, pop in water, and once roots appear, off you go again! Take a good bunch and tie with string, to make a delicious, thoughtful gift for a fellow cook. If you follow Feng Shui, Basil is considered a lucky plant. Basil was called the King of Herbs by the Ancient Greeks.
One of my favourites is a Caprese Bagel, combining the famous Caprese Salad and pesto on a freshly toasted bagel with roasted cherry tomatoes and plenty of fresh Sweet Basil. Utterly delicious. Get a recipe for the ultimate Caprese Bagel here