It's not too late to start growing basil for summer pesto making and cooking.
While you can sow seeds directly in the garden, starting them indoors and transplanting seedlings helps give them a head start. Here are some tips from gardening expert Charlie Nardozzi on how to use VELCRO® Brand Peel-Away™ Seed Pots to get your basil off on the right foot.
Growing Basil with VELCRO® Brand Peel-Away™ Seed Pots:
1. When planting seeds indoors, try sowing them in the new VELCRO® Brand Peel Away™ Seedling Pot. This reusable container naturally prunes the basil roots so you won't have root bound seedlings. When transplanting, simply peel away the pot. Place basil seedlings under grow lights turned on 14 hours a day in a warm room.
2. Once plants have at least two sets of true leaves, begin hardening off your plants. Bring the plants outdoors into a partly shaded area, protected from wind for an hour or two the frist day to get the used to the elements. Increase the time outdoors each day for one week, then transplant into the garden.
3. Plant in a full sun location in the ground or containers and protect them from cold weather. Once you see new growth, pinch the top whorl of leaves off to promote bushiness and slow flowering. Flowering basil plants tend to produce smaller leaves.
4. Keep plants well watered and fertilize every three weeks with a liquid organize plant food.
5. Harvest leaves as you need them or wait until the plant is larger to harvest stems for batches of pesto.
Check back in every few weeks for more from Charlie. He will be blogging about growing your favorite fruits, vegetables and herbs. For those who don't know, Charlie is a book author (Urban Gardening for Dummies is his latest work), radio and television show host (formerly of PBS's GardenSmart), garden coach and nationally-known public speaker. He delights in making gardening simple, easy and fun.
Hopefully these blogs will help you do just that in your yard and you'll grow the best edible garden ever this summer. For an easy way to keep you garden organized, be sure to check out VELCRO® Brand plant and garden ties. Have any questions or gardening ideas? Email Charlie and you could see them answered in his next post!