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Basil Is a semi-shrub that has a tetrahedral stem reaching a height of 35-60 cm and oblong leaves of bright green or purple color 5 cm long.
Flowers of different colors, formed into racemose inflorescences. In total, there are about 150 types of basil in nature.
The exquisite aroma of this plant has been familiar to mankind since ancient times. It is enough to add a pinch of basil to food and its taste will change.
Basil infusion is useful for headaches, for problems with the gastrointestinal tract, it can be used for gargling, etc.
Benefits of basil
Basil contains many vitamins: A, B2, PP, C. In addition, it contains phytoncides, carotene and sucrose. The beneficial properties of the plant and its taste are determined by the essential oil.
Due to its properties, basil is widely used in folk medicine as a diuretic, antipyretic, anti-inflammatory, tonic and bactericidal effect. Basil is used to prepare baths that calm the nervous system.
The vitamins contained in its composition have a beneficial effect on the respiratory system, improve the functioning of the cardiovascular system, tone the body and allow it to be restored in a short time after operations.
How to grow basil?
Basil does not tolerate low temperatures, therefore it grows only in countries with warm climates. In our conditions, only an annual crop can be grown. The growing season of the plant is five months.
Basil care is easy. It is necessary to regularly loosen, water and fertilize the soil.
To determine the harvest time of a plant, you need to remember how much essential oil it contains in a given period. For example, in common basil, the bulk of nutrients is acquired by the time of regrowth, during budding it decreases, and during mass flowering it reaches its apogee.
Depending on the type of plant, the period of its ripening is also different, and, accordingly, the time of harvest.
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Planting and caring for a basil
Basil must be planted in fertile, breathable soil. He does not like other places. The culture is thermophilic, dies during frosts. Insufficient lighting also leads to dire consequences.
Basil is sown for seedlings around the end of March - beginning of April, at home in a box with soil. The seeds are deepened into well-saturated soil, one centimeter. The distance between the rows is five centimeters.
For seed growth, a temperature of 20-27 ° is sufficient. In this case, seedlings appear in about a week. In the future, the seedlings are transplanted into pots, after which they are transplanted into open ground.
The soil mixture can be prepared from the ratio: two parts of peat and one part of compost. The nutrient mixture in the box is poured with mineral fertilizers: one teaspoon of urea, potassium chloride, potassium sulfate or superphosphate is dissolved in ten liters of water.
Before sowing, you can not soak the seeds. But the soil must always be kept moist. Always keep an eye on its temperature and humidity regime. Do not oversaturate the soil with water, otherwise the plant may infect the "black leg".
Also, do not water the seedlings with cold water. In order to prevent the appearance of diseases, it is necessary to regularly water the soil with a solution of copper sulfate from the ratio: one liter of water to half a spoonful of solution.
When choosing a site for growing, remember that basil cannot be planted in the place where it was grown the previous time. Otherwise, the plants may be affected by fusarium, the distinctive features of which are brown spots appearing on the leaves. Basil can be planted in its original place only after ten years.
The distance between the rows when planting seedlings in the ground should be at least forty centimeters. The distance between the plants is approximately 30 cm.
It is necessary to plant basil in the third decade of May when warm weather sets in, it is possible on cloudy days, or after the heat has subsided. Don't forget to water the soil.
Taking care of the plant is extremely simple: you need to regularly loosen the soil, remove weeds from it, in a word, always keep it clean.
Hilling the soil and watering it at least ten times during the growing season is encouraged. If you water the plant according to the above scheme, the chances of getting a larger yield increase many times over.
At first, the plants look depressed, they do not develop well and require constant care. The maximum development occurs at a temperature of at least +19 C. Therefore, cover the basil with plastic wrap.
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While basil is growing and developing, it needs to be fed. The first groundbait is done ten days after planting, and the second - 20 days after the first. Composition: two tablespoons of nitrophoska are diluted in ten liters of water and watered at the rate of: 4 liters per sq. m.
The first cut of greenery is carried out from young plants, even before flowering: leaves are collected and twigs are cut, about twelve centimeters long. Massive collection of greens is carried out in the flowering phase, when young shoots and leaves become the most fragrant. Then the harvested crop is dried.
Drying of greens should be carried out in a dark room. Dried plants are ground into powder, poured into dishes, tightly closed and left in a dark place. The aroma of herbs lasts up to three years! If you want to keep fresh leaves, then just put them in an earthen pot, sprinkle with salt, and pour vegetable oil on top.
As a seasoning, you can use both dried and fresh herbs. It is added to various soups, salads, as well as dietary dishes, used for salting and canning, etc.
Basil is very common in Asian and Western European cuisines. This seasoning will suit a huge number of dishes. The plant can be used as a medicine for diseases of the kidneys, heart and lungs, it tones and invigorates.
Some folk agronomists use basil as an ornamental plant because of its attractive appearance and pleasant aroma.
Basil pests and diseases
Basil is extremely resistant to various diseases. The main cause of disease is excess moisture and planting frequency. The most common ailments include:
Signs: the stem of the plant takes on a brown color if the lesion occurred in the early stages of maturation;
- The tops dry out, and the plant gradually withers, if damaged before flowering.
The disease can develop for a number of the following reasons: sudden changes in humidity and temperature of air and soil, lack of nutrition experienced by the soil, excessive moisture in the soil and its increased density. Therefore, the soil must be regularly loosened so that nutrients and oxygen enter it.
Basil Disease - Gray Rot
This is a fungal disease that affects the dying parts of the plant. A distinctive feature is the bloom, first white, and then ash-gray on the affected areas of the basil. If the soil is over-watered and the temperature difference is not monitored, the disease can also affect a healthy plant.
To defeat the disease, all affected plants must be removed from the garden and carefully weeded. It is highly undesirable to use any chemical preparations. The exact opposite effect can be achieved.
Basil is practically not disturbed by pests. The thing is that, due to its insecticidal properties, it is used to protect other plants from aphids, spider mites, and other insects that like to feast on fresh fruits. This is done as follows: basil is planted in pots to the affected plants, as a result of which the parasites cease to disturb the plant. Or pots with basil are placed in the very midst of the seedlings, for example, in the garden.
This is probably all you should have known about. The knowledge gained after reading this article and applied in practice will help you plant and grow fragrant basil on your own, and then use it for its intended purpose.
Remember to follow the requirements for growing basil. Otherwise, there is a risk of not getting a crop due to the disease of the basil or its wilting due to insufficient watering of the soil.
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