Growing Basil at the Allotment

Growing Basil at the Allotment

Basil is an aromatic leafy herb, which is popular in Italian dishes and there are quite a few varieties that also includes the spicier Thai Basil varieties.

You can sow Basil from seed in pots from February onwards and if you like an ongoing fresh supply, you can keep sowing! They should be sown quite shallow in small pots, which can be thinned out once they have grown sufficiently enough to transfer.  They only take 1-2 weeks to germinate and they like well-drained soil.

They will be best placed in a warm and sunny spot. They should always be around the 20c mark in temperature. If you are not using a propagator, use cling film or clear lidded trays until the seedlings are re-potted.

Basil will grow outdoors in a sheltered, sunny position or alternatively you can keep them indoors on a windowsill.  Basil cannot tolerate cold temperatures and would be killed with frost.

Basil is ideally watered a little in the morning as it cannot take being over watered and sitting in wet roots for a period of time and therefore the morning is ideal so that it does not sit in water over night when the temperature is cooler.

Pinch out the top main tip on the stem, this will help your plant become bushier and help prevent it from going to seed. Pick the leaves regularly for regrowth - Leaves will become ready for harvesting when you have sufficient leaves that can be picked throughout the summer.

White fly can be common on this herb; this can be washed away with soapy water unless your infection is particularly bad. Tomato plants make a great growing companion for Basil.

Your basil plant will die off as the temperatures fall in early autumn.

Fresh basil can be eaten in salads as well as being used in cooking, giving sauces a wonderful and aromatic flavour. Basil can be dried or frozen. 

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Growing Basil in Summary

Sowing Basil

  • Sow shallow and often for continuous growth
  • Keep in a warm and sunny position 
  • Thin out and re-pot

Growing Basil

  • Pinch out top on main stem for bushier plant
  • Grow alongside Tomato plants
  • Do not over-water

Harvesting Basil

  • Pick leaves as required
  • Raw leaves can be used in salads
  • Basil can be dried or frozen for cooking