I guess I have Basil issues! Let me explain a little further though...the garden is only 1/2 an acre away. Not a huge walk, but it's full of dirt obviously. When it rains the dirt splashes up and gets on the herb leaves. When I'm cooking I rinse the herbs, but giving them several rinses to make sure I get all that sun-dried dirt off is a bit time consuming. I don't use plastic ground covers (although that would help) so this pot method works best for me. Of course when I'm ready to harvest and dry the herbs I don't mind doing the extra work.
Normally I grow Basil, curled Parsley, Lemonbalm and Chives on my windowsill in the winter. I've found I get the best results by putting basil seedlings into the garden rather then starting seeds indoors. Unfortunately they get a bit leggy and don't grow quite as big indoors. They still taste wonderful though!
Basil likes well drained soil so I put some pebbles in the bottom of the pots to give the water room to drain away from the soil. Basil likes it warm, so a sunny draft-free window is ideal. I give the plants some fertilizer about once a month when indoors or even when potted outside. I'll add a bit of compost on top of the soil and/or make them some compost tea. They love it! When it gets really hot outside, make sure you water potted basil frequently.
Prune basil when it starts to get too big and it will encourage it to get bushier. Also, remember to pinch off the flowers until your ready for it to go to seed. Don't forget to save some seeds for next year!
I get the best results by starting some seeds in the garden around mid to late summer then potting them to bring indoors as fall approaches and the temperatures change. This way the seedlings can take advantage of the ideal summer growing conditions to get started, but not get too large for potting before I bring them in. Also, make sure you put the pots by a sunny window! That way I have fresh herbs all year round!
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