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How to Grow Basil

Even if your thumb is the opposite of green (red thumb?), you can probably grow basil. It's easy, it's bushy, it's delicious -- what's not to love?

Plant your basil seeds indoors four to six weeks before your region is considered "frost free." After that, transplant the plant outside into rich soil with good drainage. Once your basil is about 8 inches tall, chop its head off. It will be growing straight up at this point. Pinch about half an inch off the top. This will make the plant grow bushier.

Spring and early summer are basil's best seasons. It will eventually try to flower, but you can keep it growing by pinching off the tops again. (Basil can get a little bitter once it flowers.) When you see a flower starting, reach past the first set of leaves and pinch off the branch and bud. Removing some of a basil plant's bottom branches can keep it from flowering too. Basil needs a good store of energy to flower. By chopping off bottom branches, you're keeping it from getting as much sun (and sun = energy).

You can also plant basil in late summer for an early fall harvest.

Start brushing up on your Italian cooking, because a good basil plant produces a lot of basil. Don't say we didn't warn you.

Find out how to peel garlic.

--Erin Walters

-- Erin Walters

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