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Basil Green, also known as Sweet Basil, is an annual herb widely used in cooking, especially in Italian cuisine. It is easy to grow and adds a fresh and aromatic touch to many dishes.
Botanical name: Ocimum basilicum
Plant morphology: Basil plants are generally small, bushy, and grow up to 1-2 feet tall. The leaves are green, oval, and slightly serrated, with a glossy surface. The flowers are white or pink, and the plant blooms from mid-summer to early fall.
Soil and Climatic requirements: Basil can be grown in well-drained soil with a pH range of 6 to 7.. It requires full sunlight and warm temperatures. Basil is sensitive to cold and frost, so it is best grown in warm weather, ideally between 64°F to 95°F (18°C to 35°C).
Crop duration: Basil can be harvested within 65-75 days after planting.
Planting type: Basil can be grown from seeds or cuttings. For seed germination, sow seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost date, or sow directly outdoors in warm soil after the last frost.
Spacing: Plant basil seeds or seedlings 6-12 inches apart, depending on the variety.
Depth of sowing: Plant basil seeds 1/4 inch deep in the soil.
Germination period: Basil seeds usually germinate within 7-14 days.
Hours of sunlight required: Basil requires full sunlight, which means at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day.
Watering: Basil requires regular watering, but avoid overwatering as it can lead to root rot. Water the plant when the soil feels dry to the touch, about once a week.
Companion plants: Basil grows well with other herbs like parsley, thyme, and oregano. It is also known to repel pests like mosquitoes and flies.
Harvesting: Basil leaves can be harvested when the plant is 6-8 inches tall, usually within 30-60 days after planting. To harvest, simply cut the leaves from the plant using scissors or pruning shears. Harvesting regularly encourages new growth and a bushier plant.
Problems of Basil cultivation: Basil is susceptible to diseases like downy mildew, fusarium wilt, and bacterial leaf spot. Pests like aphids, spider mites, and whiteflies can also infest basil plants. Regular inspection and proper care can help prevent these problems.