Food is the key to good health. It affects everything that our body does– it can make your life better or it can turn small problems into big problems. Pesticides and hidden chemicals in your foods can cause damage to the nervous system, upset stomach and can live in your children’s intestines for years.
Rather than relying on what a label tells me is in my food, I decided six years ago to start an organic garden at home so that I would know exactly what I am ingesting and to give my body a chance to enjoy good health. Plus, nothing tastes better than veggies grown in your own backyard.
One of the things I grow in my organic garden is organic basil. Basil packs a punch greater than just its delightful smell– it provides blood-clotting Vitamin K and magnesium and is also an antioxidant with antibacterial properties. It can be used in a variety of recipes and in some cultures is even used for medicinal purposes.
With all of the benefits of basil, I knew it was something I wanted to grow in my own garden. I planted my basil seeds two months ago, and this week I sold two pounds of fresh delicious basil to my friends at Cater Me Fit for them to use in their pesto recipe and on sandwiches.
Growing your own basil doesn’t have to be difficult and can be pretty fun to do with the kids. It will get everyone outside and will give you and your family a chance to learn something new together. I know that I am still learning new things every day with my organic garden.
Before you start growing, it is important to start with the seeds. I use High Mowing Organic Seeds, which are 100% organic.
Next, think about the soil that you are going to use. Stay away from soils enriched with chemicals and opt for healthy soil and compost. I have found healthy soils and fertilizers from Worm’s Way are a great solution.
If you are concerned with bugs and pests getting into your garden, consider planting a few flowers that beneficial insects will love– they will help keep the pesky bugs away.
Make sure to pay attention to the amount of water and sunlight that your seeds will need to grow. Growing basil and other herbs are often an easy way to start with organic gardening because they are relatively low-maintenance and yield wonderful results.
The basil you grow will be more fragrant than anything you can find in the supermarket and far more tasty.
My basil was about one foot tall when I harvested, and I cut them at about three inches. The cuttings will all grow back as well. Make sure you have a good pair of shears when it is time to harvest your basil.
After the basil is harvested, you might be tempted to put it in a zip-lock baggie or you might stick it right in the fridge. However, you will be sending your beautiful basil to a quick and untimely death if you store it in bags or in the fridge– while other herbs can be stored in the fridge covered with a plastic bag, basil cannot. Instead, rinse and dry the basil completely using a salad spinner. Then, fill a glass or jar with water and put the basil in the glass just like a bouquet of flowers. Not only will it keep your basil fresh for longer, but it is also lovely and smells divine.