FOOD: Grow basil

I am the least likely person to give gardening tips – but I aspire to grow basil.  If you can get even a small Basil plant, with some empty pots and a little compost, you can keep growing basil from that plant.

At the moment in the UK, we’re in strict lockdown except for getting food and medicine supplies – or if we’re in the group of “Key Workers” who maintain the most essential services.  But even your supermarket can deliver or sell you (in the vegetable aisle) a small basil plant.

Basil from the growing Youtube site: 58 N,

58N Gardening Youtube Channel

The video advice above hails from the 58N gardening youtube channel – growing good stuff in Scotland, with not a great deal of warm sunlight (he uses a growth lamp to help).  The gardening is based in a modest area: an indoors flat, a windowbox, a small area in a garden, so it’s very achievable.

What to do with the Basil

A basil plant from the supermarket can last a couple of weeks by itself, if given occasional water (it doesn’t like to have its roots wet – well, who does like sitting around with damp shoes and socks?).

Basil goes brilliantly with tomatoes and therefore many Italian dishes.  You just tear off a few leaves and rip them over or into what you’re cooking.

It is fantastic in Bolognese sauce and adding torn tiny shreds of leaf over any savoury dish will make it look promising and give that “schuzz” look of homemade, even if added at the last minute to a storebought pizza.

It took me a while to love the fragrance – but once I began adding it to dishes, I began to associate that smell with good tasting food and now I love it.




  1. An interesting process.
    We haven’t had success with basil but haven’t thought of growth lamps. It might be a bit expensive on electricity though.
    Basil is essential for good pesto sauce, though without basil we substitute wild rocket.

    • the big thing about Basil apparently is that it doesn’t like to have its roots damp, so important to go easy on the watering

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