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If you have ever grown basil on the site, then you probably would like this spice to be available all year round, and not dried, but fresh. Perhaps you even sowed basil in pots, but the seedlings quickly died.
What do you need to do to get juicy, fragrant greens grown on the windowsill during the winter months? How to plant basil correctly and can you grow a good harvest from seeds at home? You will find the answers to these questions in our article. We will also talk about what needs to be done after harvesting and what diseases and pests can attack basil.
What are the best varieties for growing at home on a window?
Better to choose undersized varieties with small leaves. Large-leaved varieties consume more micronutrients, and it will be difficult to apply sufficient fertilizer at home. Perfect for windowsill varieties Baku, Yerevan, Spoon-shaped, Clove aroma, Marquis, Vanilla aroma, Basilisk, Aniseed gourmet, Mint gourmet, Kompatto, Freshness.
Read everything about growing basil at home here.
How to plant at home?
- Selecting and preparing a pot... When choosing a container for planting basil, keep in mind that this culture does not tolerate cramped conditions. Take a pot with a volume of 1.5-2 liters, or a spacious container with a depth of at least 15 cm, and preferably 20-30 cm.
There should be drainage holes in the pot or container, as the plant does not like stagnant moisture.
- Selection and preparation of soil... The soil should be loose, light and fertile. It is most convenient to take the soil from the garden area and feed it with mineral fertilizers before planting. You can also buy a universal potting soil and mix it in equal proportions with your garden soil.
Another option is to combine humus with peat or coconut fiber (1: 2). Before sowing seeds, heat the soil in the oven (100-120 C for an hour) to destroy pests and pathogens.
- Window sill selection... We grow basil on south-facing windows, as the spice loves bright and long-lasting lighting.
Sowing procedure in an apartment - step by step instructions
The best time to plant basil is March-April, and some gardeners prefer the end of February. Basil can be sown at any time of the year if desired. To help the seeds sprout faster, soak them in warm water for 1 to 2 days. Change the water at least twice a day. Then soak the seeds for 2 hours in a light pink potassium permanganate solution and place on cheesecloth or a napkin to dry.
Growing spices from seeds has the following algorithm:
- At the bottom of the container, you need to put a drainage layer of broken brick, expanded clay or pebbles about 3 cm thick. Pour prepared soil on top, leaving 3-4 cm to the edges of the container, level the ground and water it well.
- Spread the seeds on the surface of the soil at a distance of about 2 cm from each other, stepping back from the edges of the container about 5-7 cm. No more than three plants can be grown in one flower pot.
- Put a layer of soil about 1.5-2 cm on top of the seeds. You can also put the seeds in holes about 1.5 cm deep and sprinkle with earth. The depth of the hole can be less, about 0.5 mm, but in this case, a slide must be created above it.
- Then cover the container with a transparent bag or cling film and place in a warm place (20-25 C). The seeds will sprout in 1-2 weeks.
- Before the emergence of shoots, it is necessary from time to time to briefly open the film to ventilate the greenhouse. It is not yet necessary to water the crops, you can only lightly spray them from a spray bottle about once every two days. When shoots appear, remove the film and thin out the crops so that the distance between the remaining shoots is at least 10 cm.
- When they reach a height of about 6 cm, add soil to the container to prevent the shoots from breaking.
- After sprouting, basil should be watered daily in the summer or 2 times a week in the winter. Maintain the temperature between 20-25 C, avoiding drafts. In winter, when it gets dark early, use fluorescent lamps, and on especially cold days, use halogen lamps.
When the bushes reach a height of 5 cm, begin to loosen the soil every few days. If basil grows poorly, feed it with all-purpose organic fertilizers once every 2 weeks. After about a month and a half, you can start cutting off the top leaves.
When three tiers of real leaves appear, some gardeners advise cutting off the top with scissors so that the bush begins to grow in breadth. It is believed that this procedure can damage the plant, so it is better not to perform it on all shoots at once. Cut off individual leaves, for example for salad, also with scissors.
Avoid blooming and remove the stalks as soon as you notice them.
Another fun way to grow basil with seeds:
How to grow seedlings of oriental spice basil at home from seeds, read here.
Cut off a basil shoot about 10 cm long (you can use purchased greens), put it in a jar of water and wait for the roots to appear - this will take about 10 days. Place the cutting in a pot. The soil and pot are prepared in the same way as for sowing seeds. The first crop can be removed after a few weeks.
Read more about how to grow basil with cuttings in this video:
An adult rooted bush
Dig a young bush that has not yet bloomed in the garden, along with a clod of earth, and plant it in a pot. Peduncles should form soon, they must be cut off.
Basil can be sown directly to a permanent place, or it can be grown from seedlings... Prepare soil and seeds as described above, put soil in plastic containers and sow 2-3 seeds per container. When the first true leaves develop well, plant the seedlings in separate plastic cups, deepening to the cotyledon leaves.
What to do after harvest?
After cutting off the leaves, water and feed the plants well, as they need strength to recover.
Diseases and pests
Even outdoors, basil is resistant to diseases and pests. At home, snails and slugs, which sometimes infect garden greenery, will not attack him.
In some cases, plants on the windowsill can suffer from gray mold. - a grayish bloom appears on the leaves or on the soil. By keeping the seeds in potassium permanganate and calcining the soil before planting, you have already reduced this probability, and if you maintain the desired temperature, do not overmoisten the soil and indoor air, then the disease has almost no chance.
If you do notice signs of it, remove the affected bushes along with a lump of earth and remove the soil on which mold is visible. For three days, do not water or feed the plants in this pot, then, if the disease does not return, continue to care for the plantings as usual.
As you can see, it is quite possible to grow basil on a windowsill. If you want quick results, plant mature plants or root a few cuttings. If you want strong shoots that will produce crops for many months, grow basil from seeds. In any case, feel free to get to work. And may its result please you all year round!