You may try to keep basil through the winter, however, sweet basil is meant to live its life cycle within one year and then go to seed. At the end of the season, though, you may try to keep it alive by moving potted basil indoors to enjoy them for months to come.
Inspect And Transplant
Before you bring your basil indoors make sure to inspect it thoroughly for any insects. Flush the soil with water and rinse off the foliage, using a blast of water from the garden hose to chase away any pests and avoid later problems. Then, you can gently dig up your basil from the garden any time before the ground freezes.
Transfer To A Pot
Select a container large enough to accommodate your basil plus a little room for growth. Place a layer of potting mix on the bottom of the pot, then set the basil on top of that. Fill in the spaces around the roots with more potting mix. Press the soil firmly around the basil’s roots, leaving about an inch between the soil and the rim of the pot. For smaller basil plants, try placing several together in a window box that fits on a sunny sill. After settling your basil into its new container, water until it drains out the bottom of the pot.
Acclimate Your Basil
When bringing your basil indoors, it will need a little time to adjust to the new surroundings. You might notice that your basil drops a few leaves and grow more slowly. Ease your basil into life on the inside by setting them in a spot with indirect light. Don’t put them in bright sun right away. After a couple of weeks, you may move the pots to a spot that will get a least four hours of sun or bright light. If you don’t have a window that provides plenty of sunlight, you can also grow your herbs under fluorescent bulbs or with a grow light setup.
Give Your Basil Some Love
Turn pots once a week or so to help all sides of your basil get enough light. Water when the soil feels dry to a depth of 1 inch. Mist the leaves daily to boost the humidity level. You can also tilt the pots over the sink and gently rinse their foliage with tap water every once in a while, to keep them clean and deter any pests that might show up. You may want to boost the humidity around your basil by placing their pots in a pebble filled tray. Water the pot regularly, allowing excess water to over flow into the tray.
To make sure you always have access to fresh basil throughout the winter, places cuttings in a small vase of water and they will soon develop roots. When the roots are a couple of inches long, put the cuttings to expand you supply of fresh basil. Or you may snip sprigs whenever you need some fresh basil for your favorite dishes. Either way, this will encourage your basil to produce new growth and stay compact until you can move them outdoors again in the spring.
With a little preparation, basil can come indoors for the winter. Growing them in containers will give you a fresh supply for cooking all year long and you will be able to take them back outside and replant when spring arrives.
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