Basil, in all its many varieties, is one of the easiest herbs to grow in a home garden.
It loves warm climates, so it can be particularly well suited for Southern gardens. The most common basil is known as ‘Sweet Genovese,’ but ‘Siam Queen’ is great in Thai and Vietnamese cooking. To grow it well, keep it in a warm place with moist air and good drainage. As the temperature rises, the basil should thrive, allowing you to pick the leaves while the plant continues to grow. Be sure to pick off the flowers, though, because if your basil goes to seed it won’t be any good any more.
If you want to store your bounty, read our article Abundant Basil for a guide to making basil ice cubes. Then, when you’re ready to enjoy basil’s bold and distinctive flavors, try recipes like Jalapeño-Basil Pork Chops, Lemon Basil Chicken Salad, and Fresh Tomato-Mushroom-Basil Pie. Tended carefully, kept warm and watered, and picked fresh and taken straight to the kitchen, basil is one of our best friends in the kitchen.