Using an entire container of store-bought basil should qualify as an Olympic sport.
Store-bought herbs are often sold in copious amounts, forcing us to throw away and waste what we don’t use.
But if you want to stop throwing your money away, there’s a viral hack for growing basil that may keep you from ever having to buy herbs at the store again. With minimal effort and no extra resources, you can grow a lush basil plant that can fulfill your greatest pesto dreams. Just a little pinch-pinch is all it takes.
In an Instagram Reel, user @homesteadfreedom shows us how “pinching” produces a basil plant almost twice as big as an unpruned basil plant — with no changes in water or soil.
Pruning is a process that involves removing certain parts of a plant to stimulate growth. The simplest form of pruning, as shown in @homesteadfreedom’s video, is pinching.
Pinching is as simple as it sounds. Just pinch off dead leaves, energy-hoarding flowers, or parts of the plant where you want more growth. For basil plants, pinching is also a way of harvesting those delicious leaves.
But before you go full “Edward Scissorhands” on your basil plant, it’s critical to know where to pinch.
Follow the stem of the plant, and you’ll find a node, which is the part from which leaves or branches grow. Nodes can look like small notches or knobs.
Then, you’ll want to cut the stem right above the node, allowing two basil stems to branch out from this single spot.
Each of these stems will produce numerous leaves, so this simple pruning technique can help you achieve a fuller basil plant in weeks.
Pruning doesn’t just help basil — it can benefit most herbs. Annual pruning is necessary for woody herbs like sage, thyme, and rosemary. But you can prune basil every four weeks.
The pinching method can also be applied to plants like cucumber, pepper, tomato, and squash.
With this method, you can grow a full and healthy basil plant that can provide you with the perfect amount of basil without wasting money on store-bought packages.
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