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Basil at a Glance

When planting basil seeds, a few basic facts can go a long way in producing a successful harvest. Begin with considering the type of basil as some are more disease resistant and slow to bolt/flower than others. Since growing basil requires the soil to remain moist, fungus can easily culminate without ample irrigation. Profile of the various basil plants outline which tend to be more resistant to diseases, mold and fungus. Hybrids are a good choice for many as they are crossed to contain preferred characteristics from two or more strains. The flavor, time to bolt/flower and its resistance to disease are the basic characteristics that separate the various types. There are plenty of commonalities between the basil plants as well. None of the basil strains do well in cold environments. Frost will damage all varieties. Sunlight is another essential necessity in successfully growing the plant. Six hours of sunlight or more is ideal, some if not most are okay under direct sunlight. Thailand is a good example of the right tropical environment necessary for year-round production of the basil plant when growing outdoors in the open. Type of soil (preferably non-flowering), proper ph balance, timing and maintenance by eliminating flowers can contribute to a better harvest.

The basil plant, Ocimum basilicum, is popular in Asian and Mediterranean cuisines. It is a relatively easy plant to grow which needs little fertilizer, is disease resistant, insect repellent and can be produced in a greenhouse or outside in fields.

There are over 150 strains of basil and more being added by growers with flavors such as sweet basil, cinnamon, lemon, clove and licorice, often used in Thai dishes. It can be produced and sold fresh, dried or frozen. Seeds from the basil plants can last up to 3 years before losing germination when properly kept in a cool, dark and dry environment.

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