Basil for the Beginner


Old 05-30-02, 08:33 PM
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Basil for the Beginner


I haven't grown anything in 15+ years. I'd like to grow a few basil plants in some indoor containers.

I enjoy eating basil very much and I'd really like to maximize the production of these few plants. How big should I let them get and how often may I pluck leaves?

I have a flourescent light fixture I thought I could place above the plants. If I am going to use artificial lighting, how many hours per day should they get light?

Thank you for any advice.
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Old 05-30-02, 08:45 PM
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Location: Uxbridge, Massachusetts
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Hey Bruce,
Welcome to DIY! You can begin to pluck off leaves as soon as you want, there is really no "right" time to harvest. However, remember that you should let the leaves have the chance to develop somewhat first. My basil plant is in the windowsill, and it gets about 6-7 hours of good sunlight per day. Artificial light would probably be about the same. Remember to keep the flowers pinched. This encourages bushier growth. Good luck, and keep us posted!

Again, welcome!

Old 06-01-02, 01:39 AM
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Thank you for the advice, Bomber.

I have a few questions after reading the Bountiful Basil article. The author, Deborah Wechsler, quoting Tom DeBaggio, says "Basil is programmed to initiate flowering when it has six pairs of leaves on a stalk, so I like to cut it back to two leaves per stem. Don't let it get past four pairs. You can harvest the entire plant about every three weeks, and at the end of the season there will be 12 to 24 lateral branches." I really don't know what this means.

Tom says he likes "to cut it back to two leaves per stem." Does he perhaps mean two pairs of leaves per stem?

"You can harvest the entire plant..." So, how much of the plant is that supposed to be? Is it down to the previously mentioned two leaves per stem, or two pairs of leaves per stem if that's actually what was meant?

" the end of the season there will be 12 to 24 lateral branches." What does that mean?

Thank you for any insight into this matter.

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