Basil Sweet Genovese
Basil can be grown outside in your plot, but only in warm and sheltered spots.
If you're in doubt, it's much more reliable to grow on a sunny windowsill inside. A sunny kitchen windowsill is ideal because the plants will love the heat from cooking - and you can grab a handful of leaves when ever you need them.
Time from seed to plate: 8 weeks
Basil can be sown anytime from April to July. If you're growing outside, sow the seeds in a rootrainer first and plant out in June when the nights are warm.
If you're growing inside fill a windowsill box with compost and firm it down gently with your palm. Scatter your basil seeds leaving about an inch between each one. Sprinkle over a fine layer of compost to just cover the seeds, water gently to moisten the compost and place on a nice sunny windowsill. Thin out the seedlings to leave 3in between plants.
Always keep your basil moist or it will run to seed. Should any flowers appear pinch them off.
The key to success with basil is to pick it regularly. Pinch out the leafy tips and it will produce new shoots lower down.
Pesto's a great option if you've got a glut because you can freeze it and retain the fresh flavour of the basil. It's best if you leave out the cheese - add it when the pesto's thawed and ready to use. Bring any outdoor basil inside in September before the cold nights take their toll.
Remember to always tear basil when you use it. Cut with a knife the metal reacts with the leaves turning them black