Growing great Basil on Vancouver Island requires a little extra attention, but it’s worth it !
Growing Basil Inside
Basil will grow well in a sunny windowsill that gets 6 or more hours of sunlight a day or in an indoor light garden. My favorite indoor or pot grown basil is Martina Genovese, it is a dwarf 14 in/35 cm bushy Genovese type leaf with very intense aromatic flavor that seems to thrive on indoor conditions, Sweet Basil also grows well indoors. All basil responds well to continuous harvesting by pinching out the tops back to a leaf node.
Growing Basil Outside
Growing basil outside on Southern Vancouver Island can be a bit of a challenge. The climate here is a bit too mild, with evenings that are often a bit too cool and basil does not like wind. Also basil likes a bit more humidity than is normal in this area. The best choice would be a well sheltered sunny location right up against something that can hold a bit of heat like a masonry or rock wall. Better yet would be some shelter in the form of a poly cover, cold frame, or green house. A big pot of basil positioned in a sunny spot where it can easily be moved inside on the cooler evenings is another good strategy for this area.
People often find basil a bit tricky to grow, basil is picky, so here are the dos and don’t s to help point you in the right direction. Follow these basics and 99% of your basil growing problems will disappear !
- Basil does not like water on its leaves or stems. So no overhead watering and water early in the day so any plants that do get wet have lots of time to dry in the sun.
- Basil does not like too much water. Let the soil your basil is growing in dry out between watering. Grow your basil in a well-drained soil.
- Basil does not like wind, especially cool, dry evening breezes ! Plant in a sheltered area or provide shelter.
- Basil does not like cool temperatures. Basil will thrive between 16 – 26 C , anything outside this range will make your basil grumpy ! Which leads us to another don’t…
- Don’t even think about planting basil outside until June maybe mid June, watch the evening lows or better yet put a max/min thermometer in your special sheltered outdoor basil growing spot to decide when it should go out. Planting out too early is the most common basil growing problem people have.
The good news is if you keep your basil happy the result will be a wonderful harvest of fresh basil !