Growing basil and other herbs

TomskTomsk Posts: 204

Is it too late to plant basil, here in London? Assuming the great summer isn't going to turn back into floods and rain for the rest of the year!

I saw some basil seeds in a supermarket and wasn't sure whether to get them in case it's too late for this year. When is basil ideally planted, how long does it take to grow from seeds, and do you have to regrow it from seeds every year or does it grow into a big perennial bush like rosemary?

And what about other herbs like oregano, thyme, sage and mint. Do they all grow at the same time of year and for as long?


  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 24,234

    Basil is an annual, grows quickly. sow it in a pot and you can bring it indoors when the weather turns. You have to start it from seed every time.

    The others are perennials and to my mind it's cheaper to buy baby plants from the GC than to buy a packet of seed. They all soon bulk up, much quicker than seed.

  • Orchid LadyOrchid Lady Posts: 5,800

    I have about 6 basil plants that I grew from seed, sown in May-ish.  2 are in a big pot on the kitchen windowsill and the others are still in the GH. I have just sown some more last week as I want to make some pesto. I've also sown some coriander, just to see what it's like and it has just started germinating image

  • TomskTomsk Posts: 204

    Thanks for the replies. I have an ideal pot that has no proper use right now, but is small enough to take inside when the season gets cold.

    I read that it's good to grow basil in the same soil as tomatoes, but I can't find out for sure why? Is is too late in the year to sow basil seeds outside in the soil my tomatoes are growing in? And is tomato feed OK for basil?

    Also, to speed things up a bit, I notice that Asda are selling small pots of growing basil for £1, intended to be kept in the kitchen and used as needed. Do you think they would grow into bigger plants if I bought a couple of them and transplanted them into my garden soil?

  • artjakartjak Posts: 4,168

    Tomsk, I use those supermarket plants often, but I just pot them up and keep in the kitchen. They are usually quite etiolated and would need hardening off before planting outside in case there is a cold night.image

  • Pete8Pete8 Posts: 2,910

    Basil is often grown as a companion plant to tomatoes - they help keep the beasties away. Marigolds also help to keep aphids at bay.
    I grow basil in a trough in the g/house and pop a couple of marigolds in the same pots as my toms.
    This time of year, basil will try and seed asap (as the nights get shorter it triggers flower/seed production), so be sure to pinch out the flower buds as they appear.
    Lots of different types of basil too - Thai basil is one of my faves for Thai cooking.
    I doubt tomato food is the best for basil as tom food encourages flowering which you don't want. I imagine nitrogen would be the best nutrient as you're after leaves not flowers. Basil likes the same conditions as tomatoes.

  • Orchid LadyOrchid Lady Posts: 5,800

    I knew there was a reason I had basil in the GH with my marigolds, tomatoes and aubergines......but couldn't remember why image Thanks Pete image

  • Pete8Pete8 Posts: 2,910

    That's my good deed for the day done then - and it's only 8:15 image


  • treehugger80treehugger80 Posts: 1,407

    basil can be taken from cuttings, I buy basil in a pot from a supermarket (usually about 75p) cut below a leaf node, stick the cuttings in water, wait about two weeks and pot up about 10 plants from one original plant - which has by then re-sprouted and can be divided into four separate plants i.e. 14 plants for 75p!

  • ClaringtonClarington Posts: 4,892

    I pot up basil we've brought at the supermarket. They last for a couple of years although they're not as good towards the end. I just freeze the leafs when it gets too big so I've a constant supply. Much easier than growing basil from seeds and so lovely to see green plants in the winter.

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