If you have limited garden space, then growing basil in containers will be the best way to have your own basil. You will have the best tasting harvest ever in comparison to those bought in your local grocery store when growing basil in containers.
Before you jump start to growing this herb in containers, make sure you have all the requirements needed for proper growth and germination. Choose an area that will have at least 6 hours of sunlight. This herb loves the sun, and will do better when grown in a place that has a lot of sun and no shade. A container of at least 8 inches will do for your herb. You have the option of choosing between multitudes of containers, with the exception of ceramic pots. Your container must have drainage holes at the bottom, for it is easy to drown crops when growing basil in containers. The bottom of your container must be lined with broken pieces of terracotta pots, or pea pebbles to aid drainage.
Potting Mix for Growing Basil in Containers
Choose a soil that is made especially for container gardening. Never use ordinary garden soil for growing basil in containers for it is mostly made up of clay, does not drain well, and also hosts millions of dormant bacteria, virus, and fungus that can cause disease in your plants. Your potting mix is already pre-mixed with organic material, peat, perlite or vermiculite, as well as compost for proper growth. Adjust the pH of the soil to 6.0 to 7.5, although this step is just optional.
Staring your Cultivation
You can start growing basil in containers from seeds. Seeds can easily be bought online or from local gardening stores. The seeds are placed on the soil and covered with 1/4 inch compost. If you water the seeds well, keep the soil warm to 75 degrees Fahrenheit, your seeds will germinate from 7-10 days. Once the seedlings have 2-4 pairs of true leaves, thin the seedlings out when growing basil in containers so that you have at least 6 inches between each seedling. If you cannot wait long for growing basil in containers, you can start from cuttings or transplants. Be careful when taking the transplant out of its container for it does not want to have its roots disturbed. Dig a hole twice as big as the container that your herb came in and place a good amount of compost at the bottom. Place in your transplant carefully and make sure that the level of the soil is 2 inches below the lip of the container. This will give you room to water your plants. Afterwards, give them water until it flows out of the drainage holes.
Mulch the top soil for proper care of growing basil in containers. This will protect the shallow roots as well as prevent weeds from invading your pot. Fertilize your herb with 15-15-15 organic fertilizer or spray them with compost tea to keep away pests and disease. Harvest the leaves as you are growing basil in containers once they have grown to a size that is appropriate for you. When growing basil in containers, make sure to pinch off the top new shoots to promote lateral growth and to prevent your plant from being too leggy. You must also pinch off flowers as they can result to drab tasting herb. Keep the soil moist but not wet by giving them deep watering when the soil is dry. A moist soil should be left alone, but a soil that is dry up to 2 knuckles down need to be watered.
Growing basil in containers can be easy and rewarding. All you need would be plenty of sun, good amount of water, and adequate drainage for proper, healthy growth.
For more information, visit http://mayumimariegarden.blogspot.com/2010/03/my-basil.html