For me, there are few things that smell as good as freshly picked basil. When you grow basil in your iHarvest® you’re growing a fresh, wonderfully fragrant topping for almost any meal. And because basil happens to grow prolifically in hydroponics, most iHarvesters will only need to grow 1 or 2 basil plants to have as much basil as they will ever need. That leaves 28 other spaces to grow more fresh herbs, veggies and fruit.
Basil is quite simple to grow from seed. Consider using our Seedling Starter Kit, or simply using the paper towel method for great results. You can even sow your basil seeds directly in the iHarvest. Your seeds will be slower to develop seedlings, but you will still have a high rate of success.
Give your basil plenty of light for it to grow. While basil will do well with less light than some other plants, exposing your basil to 16 hours of light per day will be best for your basil and other iHarvest plants. Don’t worry about your electric bills. The iHarvest’s full-spectrum lights are highly efficient, and use only 36W of power each. It’s really quite amazing considering how much light these grow lights are able to produce.
Your iHarvest® comes with an EC or PPM tester. EC stands for ‘Electrical Conductivity’ and it is a measure of the nutrients in your water solution. When growing basil, you will want to keep your EC range between 1.0 – 1.6 for optimal growth. Basil grows great with other plants that grow well in these EC ranges, such as lettuce, lemon balm, parsley and peas. When you increase the nutrients in your iHarvest above 1.6, your basil is likely to continue growing very well. It may even taste great to you, but I personally notice that it begins to adopt a mint-like flavor that is less like typical basil.
Your iHarvest® comes with a pH tester. Adjusting your pH allows your plants to absorb the nutrients they need, as efficiently as possible. Keep your pH between 5.5-6.8 for optimal growth.
Basil is a leafy plant that does not fruit, so it’s going to grow great with an all around hydroponic growing solution like Maxigro. Just add small scoops of Maxigro into your iHarvest reservoir, and make sure it is well mixed with the water. When your EC is between the range of 1.0-1.6 or your PPM is between 700-1200, your hydroponic solution is just right for growing basil.
Pruning and Harvesting:
Over time, your Basil will grow very thick, bark-like trunks. This is natural, and helps your basil plant support even more stems and leaves. The thick branches also allow your basil to carry all of the necessary water and nutrients to basil leaves that can grow as large as your hand. It’s best for your basil plants if you always leave some leaves growing, but you can harvest aggressively as the plant grows larger. New branches and new leaves will grow back relatively quickly, every time you harvest.
Note that basil will eventually flower and produce seeds. The white or purple flowers can be attractive, but it’s best to nip the flower buds off before they develop. That’s because basil can lose some of its incredible flavor after it flowers and goes to seed.
Time to Harvest:
When planting basil from seed, it will generally require only 3-4 weeks before your first harvest. Soon after, you will notice your basil plant growing stronger and faster, providing for a new basil harvest as often as every few days.
Note: Purple basil is lots of fun to grow for it's color, but grows less vigorously than green basil.
Basil is so easy to grow, and it’s great fun because of its incredible aroma and aggressive growth. As long as you prune it back every now and then, your basil will remain happy for many months of terrific production. And don’t forget, IGWorks® and the Indoor Garden Works Group on Facebook are always here to help you grow.
Let's grow together!
There's more great growing information in the links below: