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Basil Fact Sheet

By Monica Resinger, Editor of The Homemaker's Journal

Name/Botanical Name: Basil, Ocimum Basilicum 

Description: A highly flavored tender annual herb that is used in many 
dishes. Sweet basil can reach 2-3 feet tall. It attracts butterflies 
and beneficial insects to the garden. 

There are many different varieties of Basil such as lemon Basil, 
cinnamon Basil, sweet Basil and more. The best way to find variety is 
to shop for seeds. I have noticed a few lesser-known varieties of 
seeds in the stores, but you will find more variety through specialty 
seed catalogs. 

Plant requirements: Basil likes well-drained soil that is rich in 
nutrients. It also likes full sun and lots of water. Basil also likes 
warm weather and will not do well if the weather turns cold. 

Propagation: You can start seeds early indoors 6-8 weeks before the 
last frost or take cuttings. Germination of seeds takes at least 2 
weeks. Directly seeding outdoors after frost has passed and soil has 
warmed will also do well. 

Planting: Plant Basil in the garden after all danger of frost has 
passed and temperatures are consistently 60*F or more. Space plants 
about 12 inches apart. 

Care: Slugs and snails love Basil so you'll need to protect your 
plants from them. You can crush eggshells and put a ring of them 
around the base of each plant or put a ring of gravel. Pinch back 
often to encourage bushy growth. 

Harvest just before flowering or while flowering. You can also pick 
leaves as needed anytime. 


In the Garden: Basil can be grown in containers or in the garden as an 
ornamental plant. Grow purple leaved varieties next to the green 
leaved varieties for a beautiful contrast. 

Companion Planting: Basil is said to improve the growth and flavor of 
asparagus, tomatoes and most vegetables except cabbage and snap beans 
and is said to repel whiteflies. It is also a great companion to roses 
by improving their growth and providing some protection from insects. 

Culinary: There a many different ways to use Basil in the kitchen. 
Here are just a few. The purple or red varieties make beautiful herb 
vinegars. Lemon Basil is a great addition to fruit salads or to use 
when cooking poultry. Lemon or cinnamon basil can be used in jellies, 
honeys, vinegars and baked goods. Sweet basil is excellent with 
Italian dishes such as spaghetti. 

Crafts: Use lemon or cinnamon Basil in potpourri. Basil is symbolic 
for best wishes and warm friendship; this could be taken into account 
if you are making an arrangement for a special occasion. Basil can be 
dried and used in herb/dried flower wreaths. 

Repel Insects: Rub the leaves on your skin or grow in a container near 
a troubled area to repel insects such as mosquitoes. You can also burn 
sprigs of it on the barbecue or fire to repel them. Place fresh sprigs 
of it over bowls of food to prevent flies from landing. 

As you can see, Basil is a very useful, decorative and valuable herb 
that is well worth the minimal effort to grow. I hope you'll try it if 
you haven't already. 

, 2001, Monica Resinger

About the Author: Monica Resinger is the Editor of The Homemaker's Journal Ezine, a jam-packed e-mail e-zine that publishes the collective advice of thousands of homemakers in all home and garden topics like organizing, cooking, parties, decorating, cleaning, family life, gardening, crafts and much more! Become a part of our family and receive this fun and informative resource Monday through Friday. Join now by sending a blank e-mail to: [email protected]

Reprint permission: This article may be reprinted in its entirety as long as the above bio and this note are included and a courtesy copy of the publication is sent to [email protected].

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  There is a recursive #INCLUDE chain
There is a recursive #INCLUDE chain