How to Grow Basil in Winter

by on January 21, 2012


UrbanFig: Basil

Basil is easily one of the most loved herbs in the urban garden, so why not grow it indoors when the weather outside isn’t the best?

Sure, basil plants love the sun, but if you have a well-lit window or artificial light source, you can grow basil indoors all year long and have a ready source of tasty herbs for all of your favorite dishes including pesto (see our simple recipe below).

Temp Range: 60 – 80 degrees F
Seed to Plate: 8 weeks
Indoor Light Needs: min. 6-8 hours of sun, or bright artificial light per day
How Much to Grow Per Person: 1 plant per person is usually adequate
Average Space Needs: 1 plant / 1 Square Foot (outdoors)
Water Needs: moist, well drained soil
Soil pH: slightly acid, 6.0 –7.5

Whether you start basil from seed or begin with an established seedling, you will want to keep the soil moist (think wrung out sponge) as a way of helping to keep the plant not only well hydrated but also to keep it from blooming and “going to seed”. When you do see the tiny blooms appear from time to time, simply pinch them off to keep your basil plant growing  and productive.

RECIPE: Simple Basil Walnut Pesto

It couldn’t be any easier to make a restaurant quality pesto at home in just a few minutes. If you have a food processor or blender and these basic ingredients, you have pesto!

  • 2 cups of fresh basil leaves (packed)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 cloves garlic (minced fine)
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup walnuts


  1. Add all ingredients to a food processor and pulse until thoroughly blended and creamy.
  2. Add pesto to your favorite pasta.

Got extra basil? Make extra pesto and freeze it in ice cube trays for a quick meal anytime!

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