Basil is the king of the kitchen — it tastes great in many dishes, and you can grow it yourself. Plant seeds or transplants after all danger of frost has passed and the soil is warm. If you’re planning on making pesto, grow several plants. For other uses, one or two basil plants yield plenty. Basil will grow best in a location that gets 6 to 8 hours of full sun daily, though it can perform well in partial sun, too. Water the soil and drain it well — containers work best for it. Don’t use insecticides, and grow them away from driveways and busy streets to protect their nutritious value. Plant seeds about ¼-inch deep and 10 to 12 inches apart.
They should grow to about 12 to 24 inches in height. Start picking the leaves of basil as soon as the plants are 6 to 8 inches tall. Keep harvesting the leaves to keep the plant going strong. Make sure to pick the leaves regularly to encourage growth — even if you don’t need the leaves, pick them to keep the plant producing new ones. That will ensure you’re always getting a fresh supply.
Get creative in the kitchen.
There’s a whole array of Italian dishes that you can use basil for. Start with tomato, basil, and mozzarella sandwiches. Try a fresh tomato and basil quiche, a basil tart, and more. You can also hold the picked leaves in water to spread the basil aroma around your kitchen.