Stop wasting grocery money: Here's how to grow your own basil


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Anyone with a modest paycheck understands the level of panic or dread that sets in when budgeting for groceries. You want to get fresh herbs and veggies but, well, you also want to have enough money left over to commute and pay rent.

Let’s talk about basil, then. You have to start somewhere and even if you aren’t a green thumb, basil is pretty resilient. Who knows — it might even inspire you to try other herbs or even veggies. Yes, even indoors.


But it’s just a couple of dollars …

Well, sure. But when you are stretching every last dollar, the $3 to $4 bucks you might shell out for the organic stuff — or even the $2 bucks for the regular stuff — counts.

Not to mention that it’s happened to most, if not all, of us at least once: You buy a bunch of fresh basil, don’t use it right away and completely forget about it until you find the sad, soggy wilted leaves. You work hard for your money. Stop wasting it.


Ready, set, grow!

You can grow basil from cuttings. Don’t fret if you don’t know someone with a plant who can give you some. Buy some fresh basil — for the last time — because the good news is that you can use the store-bought stuff.

Using a sharp knife, cut off about 1 inch of the stem, right below a leaf node. A leaf node is the part where the leaf is attached to the stem. Put the stem into a glass or glass jar filled with water immediately.

Place the jar in an area where it gets plenty of direct sunlight, and wait for it to grow roots. You’ll need to change the water every other day or so. Roots should grow about 2 inches before you’re ready to move to the next step — a process which should take between two and four weeks.  

Now you’re ready to transplant. This is the scary part, for those of us who aren’t necessarily green thumbs (and possible plant killers). Plant the basil cutting in a pot and make sure it gets five to six hours of direct sunlight daily.


Harvesting leaves

We’re not kidding when we say basil is resilient, and as such, it’s one of those plants that, the more your prune it, the more it thrives. TheKitchn recommends that you cut stalk and leaves from the top.

Beware if your basil plant starts to flower. Prune the flower buds before they bloom so you can keep harvesting basil leaves. If they flower, then it means your plant’s no longer fertile and you’ll have to start again.