Basil is an annual, bushy herb which usually flowers in mid to late summer. It is native to India, Africa and Asia. Often cooked in a tomato sauce, basil is also well-known as a companion plant for tomatoes. Choose a sunny spot for planting. Soil should be well draining and slightly moist with a pH of 5.5 to 6.5. Basil can be sown directly outdoors once the air temperature is about 12°C with no danger of frost – but, for best results in a short growing season, start indoors and harden-off before planting outside.

You can begin to harvest leaves as soon as they appear on the plant. Pick the tips of the basil first to encourage side shoots. Pinch off flowers as they appear to extend your basil harvest. You can also transplant your healthiest-looking plants to indoor pots at the end of the season. Make sure to harvest all your basil before the first frost.

Basil cross-breeds easily, leading to many wonderful cultivars.