Basil

From WikiGarden

Basil

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Basil (Ocimum basilicum) is a green, leafy and bushy plant with several branches growing from the stem. These branches contribute to the bushy appearance of the plant. On taking a deeper looking into the plant, you will notice that the branches grow in pairs opposite one another. The basil plant typically grows to a height 2 to 2 ½ feet with woody stems and thin ends.

While growing the basil in your garden ensure that it is grown in a place that receives a good amount of sunlight – over 6-8 hours a day. Basil requires well dug fertile soil that allows good soil air circulation. You can choose to grow basil at any time from a seed or transplant a seedling into the garden.. Make sure to pinch out any flower that appears in the basil. This will help you preserve the plants’ flavour and also channel the plants energies more into leaf growth. Basil can be harvested 10 weeks after sowing the seeds


Varieties

Basil is grown in many regions of Asia. Clove-like flavour is stronger among the basil grown in Asian region than compared to Mediterranean basils. Holy Basil or Tulsi is the most notable and home-grown plant in India and Nepal. In Indonesia, lemon basil which has strong lemony smell and flavour is served raw along with raw cabbage, green beans, and cucumber.

Diseases and preventive measures

• Rotting roots: Over watering and poor drainage stunts the growth of your plant and gradually kills them. This can be spotted when the roots appear dark and slimy. Ensure to lay off excess water to prevent the disease. • Fusarium wilt: If you are growing sweet basil, be ensured that they are most vulnerable to this condition. Wilted yellow leaves, brown spots, twisted stems, and streaks on stem are some of the symptoms of the disease. As fungus grows in the soil and then transmitted to leaves, it is better to destroy the infected plant and avoid planting in that soil for at least 3 years. • Nitrogen Deficiency: Poor growth and yellow leaves shows your basil plant lacks nitrogen. Feeding the plants with a liquid organic fertilizer can cure the disease.

As preventive measures, plant basil in fertile soil ensuring that it contains all the nutrients that the plants require. Pick leaves and this will encourage new growth and helps in keeping the good circulation of air.

Health benefits of Basil

• Basil contains properties that can prevent the harmful effects of aging. They kill the harmful molecules and prevents damaged caused by some free radicals in the liver, brain and heart. • As the herb is rich in potassium, manganese, copper and magnesium, it helps in controlling the heart rate and blood pressure. • Basil is considered to be one of the best adaptogen or anti-stress agent.