Let’s learn how to grow basil in winter. Why? Simple! Because dry basil isn’t nearly as good of course!
That’s probably all you have left in your pantry during winter right?
So, let’s grow it instead!
But doesn’t basil hate the cold weather? Yeah, basil does. Like most herbs, basil thrives in a sunny warm place.
So don’t go jumping out of your chair to try and dig a whole in your frozen garden bed in your backyard! That’s not going to cut it!
You will need to grow it indoors (unless you have a greenhouse that is). But don’t worry it’s not any harder! There are 2 ways to do this: Hydroponics and traditional.
Growing Basil Hydroponically In Winter
If you already have a hydroponics setup, You can skip this section and click here for instructions.
The best of the 2 methods, Hydroponically grown basil is a treat. For almost no space investment you can always have a crop of fresh basil ready to harvest, and all it takes is 28 days to get started. That’s how long it takes for basil to grow hydroponically (even less if you just want microgreens(14 days)!)
If your just starting out with hydroponics, or looking to get into it for the first time, we recommend using this starter kit.
It makes getting started easy as it comes with all the equipment you need to get started
- 21w grow light built-in, a good spectrum of light
- Takes normal seeds, not trademarked pods
- Automatic timer for light, hands-off
- A bunch of accessories
- Comes with a starter batch of nutrient formula
So as you can see it is perfect for someone who just wants some fresh herbs in the kitchen. Set it and forget it.
For hydroponic growers at home, Here are the nutrient mixtures and plant specs you need to follow.
|Substrate||sterilized Rockwool, peat moss, coco coir, perlite or vermiculite|
|Calcium / Potasium Mixture||1:1 ratio (high) (We recommend this)|
|pH level||5.8 to 6.2|
|Light Cycle||14 hours per day|
|DLI||12 mol per m2 /day+|
|EC||If winter, 1.4, summer 1.0|
|Can mix with other herbs||Yes, But it’s advisable to keep them separated for adjusting nutrient solution|
|Can reproduce with cuttings||Yes|
In winter, Basil will require 10-14 hours of light per day. In summer this can be lessened to 10.
It’s crucial the ambient temperature remains between 70F and 80F.
To propagate basil from a cutting, you should cut off a stem that is about 3-4 inches long from a new growth above the lateral leaf node. (cut the tip).
Prune the lower leaves only leaving the leaves on the very top. Put your cutting in your hydroponic setup in your chosen substrate. Be sure it’s well watered and give it a lot of light.
It will take about a week for the cutting to start producing roots of it’s own. If you live in a place with low humidity (which is often the case in winter anyway) you should cover your hydroponic setup with a tarp or bag to create a greenhouse effect.
This will stop the basil from drying out and burning. However, be sure not to make it too humid as this is also detrimental. You should keep it between 60% and 65% humidity as basil requires more than most other herbs.
That is another reason it should be kept separated from other herbs.
With a bag or container placed over the hydroponic setup, normal evaporation should be able to get to the levels you require. Just be sure to keep an eye on it to make sure it’s not too high or too low.
We recommend you get a hygrometer which will help you monitor the humidity levels for your plants.
Start the seeds with regular PH balanced water for the first handful of days after germination. After that, around the 4th day, start using 1/2 recommended nutrient solution for about 1 week before increasing to full dosage.
It’s hard to make your own solutions by hand, as a beginner you should buy them. However, if you looking to get more involved, You should know that the most common solutions contain potassium nitrate, calcium nitrate, potassium phosphate, magnesium sulfate, and other trace minerals.
Your nutrient solution should be changed often, every 3-5 days to prevent build-up, mold, and other hazards to your basil.
And that’s how to grow basil in winter hydroponically. It’s very easy if you just buying everything you need, Or already have a set up for it. But what about those of us who don’t want to spend money or just want to grow it naturally?
How to grow basil in winter using traditional methods (dirt)
Growing basil in the soil is pretty clear cut and simple, here are the instructions you should follow.
- Dirt Quality: Basil loves drained moist soil and a neutral pH level. Unlike hydroponics which requires a higher pH level. Soil shouldn’t be too rich and requires no editing after the first plant of the season.
- Natural basil needs about 7 hours of sunlight a day in a warm temperature. The same temp as hydroponic basil (70-80F). Keep out of direct sunlight though, It will get scorched.
- Water when the soil feels dry. Do not get water on its leaves, Use a long-nosed watering container to get at its stem.
- Space 12-16 inches apart. Basil can get large and fluffy and needs space. If you don’t have a lot of space consider getting a variety of basil that doesn’t get large.
And that’s the gist of it, Super easy. You shouldn’t have any issues growing your own basil this winter.
Throw away that horrible dried stuff, Now that you know how to grow basil in winter there is no reason you shouldn’t always have fresh basil all year round.
You might save quite a bit of money too when it comes to constantly buy it fresh in summer. Trust us, Grow it, It will make your life that much better!
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Update on 2020-11-27 API Pricing Subject To Change