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Expert gardener explains how to 'double your basil' every time you harvest: 'My ... plant literally exploded with new leaves'

"Don't just pick individual leaves!"

One TikToker shares his trick for growing tons of basil

Photo Credit: @nettlesandpetals / TikTok

A popular TikToker is showing gardeners across the globe a great way to make their basil plant flourish after harvesting leaves. "Don't just pick individual leaves!" he warns in the video's description. 

The culinary herb is used in cuisines around the world and can be easily grown in a garden or on a windowsill. This tip shows us how to "double your basil — every time you harvest." 

The scoop

The video was uploaded on the TikTok channel Nettles and Petals (@nettlesandpetals), which has all sorts of gardening tips and tricks.  

@nettlesandpetals Double your Basil - every time you Harvest! 🌱 (Featuring a visit from a little friend) 🐝👀😂 So, wether you buy or grow Basil plants for your windowsill or garden, don't just pick individual leaves! Pruning the basil plants just above the nodes (where the leaves grow from the stem) will promote the growth of two new stems in its place. This will produce a far bushier, more productive and longer lasting plant overall. 😊👍🏻🌱 And who doesn't want more Basil? 😋 #basil #gardeningtips #plantcare #herbs #windowsillgarden #herbgarden #basilplant #pollinators #hoverflies #urbangardeningrevolution #urbangardeningideas #organicgardening #gardenharvest #gardenhacks #insects ♬ Caramel Latte - Prod. By Rose

The video begins with the narrator telling us, "When harvesting basil, it can be tempting to just pull on individual leaves." 

Instead, he says, we should just follow the stem up until we see a node. "At this point you will usually find a couple of new stems forming," he explains. "So instead of pulling leaves, you'll simply cut just above those nodes."  

This will give us two new basil stems branching out at the top, resulting in a "far bushier plant that will last a lot longer and produce a lot more," he concludes.  

How it's helping

There are many benefits to gardening and growing your own food. For one, there's the potential for significant long-term financial savings. 

For example, the average price for a pound of organic tomatoes from Whole Foods in the U.S. in 2021 was around $2.99, while a packet of organic heirloom tomato seeds, which cost $3.99 at that time, has the potential to produce several tomato plants

To provide additional context, it's worth noting that a single tomato plant can yield anywhere between 10 and 30 pounds of tomatoes, according to Investopedia

There are also a number of health benefits. Studies have shown that being surrounded by plants offers numerous psychological benefits, with the potential to enhance our sense of well-being

Buying spices like basil at the store often means you're buying something in a plastic container. The foods we buy at the store can have a range of chemical contaminants from the plastic or canned packaging. This can leach into the food it is meant to protect. 

By growing your own produce, you avoid the need for packaging, which can also bring about a host of environmental problems, especially when it comes to plastic

What everyone's saying

"I started doing that and my supermarket plant literally exploded with new leaves," one commenter wrote.

Another asked, "can I grow basil indoors?" to which another viewer answered, "my two basil plants are very happy in my bedroom, so I would say yes." 

"Great info on my favorite herb, thanks!" another person added. 

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