This ‘Sweet’ Basil is the classic, large-leaved variety that is most popularly used in cuisines all over the world. Native to tropical regions of central Africa and Southeast Asia, it is a tender, half-hardy annual when grown outdoors in Britain for summer cropping. Or it can be grown successfully indoors on your windowsill all through the year to ensure a continuous supply of fresh leaves for culinary use.
A favourite herb particularly of Italian cooking, its sweet, aromatic leaves are a characteristic ingredient for many dishes from salads and garnishes to soups, casseroles, ragu, pizza, and pasta dishes – and superb for making fresh pesto. The flavour comes from the intense essential oils in the glossy green leaves that are at their best when eaten raw or added to hot dishes at the last minute.
Growing your own ‘Sweet’ Basil from seed, whether indoors or outdoors, will reward you with neat, bushy and vigorous plants that can be cut just when you need a fresh bunch for your cooking – a much better solution than those frustrating supermarket pot herbs that barely last 2-3 weeks and are reluctant to grow back when cut.
Sow all year round indoors into pots for your windowsill or for transplanting outdoors from May to July. Or sow outdoors from May to June; they will do best in pots or containers, but can be sown directly into a well-prepared bed or border. All they require is a sunny but sheltered position, in fertile, moist but well-drained soil or compost, then regular cutting to encourage new growth.
Supplied as a packet of 450 (approx.) seeds ready to plant indoors or outdoors in their growing position. Mature plants can reach 30cm (12in) height and spread. Harvest indoors all year round or throughout the summer when grown outdoors.
How to grow Basil