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Growing Basil (herb)

(Ocimum basilicum)

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
P                 P P P

(Best months for planting Basil (herb) in New Zealand - cool/mountain regions)

  • Harvest in 60-70 days
  • Grow in seed trays, and plant out in 4-6 weeks. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed.
  • Best planted at soil temperatures between 18°C and 35°C.
  • Space plants: 20-25cm

A frost tender low-growing herb. Basil is a culinary herb prominently featured in Italian cuisine, and also plays a major role in the Southeast Asian cuisines of Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. The plant tastes somewhat like anise, with a strong, pungent sweet smell. There are many varieties including, thai, purple ruffles and lemon.

Can be grown inside in pots in winter. As the plant develops, pinch out the top to encourage bushy growth. Keep well picked to prevent flowering.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Basil (herb)

Basil is commonly used fresh in cooked recipes. It is generally added at the last moment, as cooking quickly destroys the flavour. Tear rather than chop.
The fresh herb can be kept for a short time in plastic bags in the refrigerator, or for a longer period in the freezer, after being blanched quickly in boiling water.

Your comments and tips

02 Apr 13 Demelza (New Zealand - temperate climate)
My (superb herb supermarket) plants were prolific through xmas and then last week as the air has cooled (Waikato) they've had rotting from stems up. Was planted in pot under back door shade. Must need intense heat to be happy as Ive had poor luck with it before. Noticed also praying mantis swarm over it this year. Had some leaf being eaten but other than mantis I couldnt find culprit.
07 Jun 13 Mark (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
I am growing a potted herb garden in a sunny garage window in Christchurch. I have 4 basil plants, but with garage temperatures getting down to 5 degrees in June, they are withering. I would like to bring them into the lounge at night to keep them warm. Partner says no. Should I bring the herbs inside and put partner in garage?
20 Jun 13 chralle (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
my basil is starting to die. i think its the wet weather. so i took it out of the ground and put it in a pot and now have it sitting in side on my window sill.i so hope it starts growing again.
23 Nov 13 Megan Sainsbury (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Can Basil leaves be dried. If so, How? Thanks
09 Jan 15 Ally (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
re Basil: basil doesn't like to get too wet or it does start to rot from the base up. It's best when you only water it when it starts to droop and keep pinching out the top leaves and stem between two new shoots at the base of other another pair of leaves. Don't pull outside leaves off. Always pinch the stem just above the buds.
27 Aug 15 Claudette (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Basil can be dried, if you would like to preserve the colour its best to air dry it. Wash your Basil bunches, tie together and hang upside down. Somewhere out of the sun, heat, moisture etc. I have seen paper bags used as well. A hole needs to be made in the bottom of the bag, basil goes in stem first through the hole, tie and hang. Allows air circulation through and limits dust on your drying plants, not sure if it works :) Takes a few weeks to dry, leaves will be crunchy. No idea about using a food dehydrator.
08 Oct 15 Danika (New Zealand - temperate climate)
I've been given a small basil plant with some strawberry plants by a neighbour. She said to plant them together but I haven't seen any recommendations online for companion planting. Should I move them to a different spot or have people grown them together successfully
05 Dec 15 janice Simpson (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
Just about to throw some sunflower seeds into my front garden. Was wondering if I would need to give the soil a boost of plant feed or top soil as my soil is pretty sandy?
01 Jul 16 Bob (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
where can i buy holy basil (fresh leaves, plant) in NZ? ta
24 Jul 16 Phil (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Bob check out King Seeds search for Sacred Basil seeds, enjoy

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New Zealand - cool/mountain,   New Zealand - sub-tropical,   New Zealand - temperate  

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