My container garden: growing basil

                       My container garden: growing basil

I’m not an authority. I don’t know all the rules to gardening and there are lots of things I haven’t tried to plant yet. This being said, I certainly have grown things quite successfully so far and will continue to do so.

This summer, I decided to actually give gardening a try. Every summer I always purchase mini roses to put on my windowsill but other than that I’ve never tried growing something from seed before. That needed to change. Luckily I have a windowsill that gets a lot of sun (it’s a West facing window- South is best for starting seedlings from what I heard but mine still did fine.)

My first plant from seed: Basil

The first plant I chose to start to cultivate was basil. I had done my research and quickly realized, based on every article I read, that basil was a simple plant to care for and grew quickly.

 How to get started

Here’s what I used:
  •  A big bag of average soil from Pathmark (I forget the brand- sorry! I’m all out of it.)
  •  Organic basil seeds from Burpee.
  •  An assortment of terra cotta pots I had lying around the house.
  • Some rocks (you can literally use any you find outside- just make sure you wash them off first!)
  • Plastic drainage dishes from Pathmark.

First, I started the basil seeds in small terra cotta pots. There were three pots and I put small rocks at the bottom of each. I had heard adding rocks to the bottom helped filter the water and provided better drainage to the plant.

Here’s what I did:

  • I added the small rocks into the three little pots so that they were circling the drainage hole.
  • Then, I added about half a cup of soil due to how small the pots were.
  • I placed two seeds into the smaller pots and four seeds into the slightly bigger pot.
  • I covered the seeds with some more soil
  • I watered it.

And that was it! It was really simple to set up. I recommend you place something beneath you when you scoop the soil into the pots, like old newspapers, in order to avoid dirtying your table.

The back of the Burpee seed pack says to expect sprouts within 7-10 days. Within just 6 days 6 out of 10 of the basil sprouts I planted popped up! I had planted two extra seeds in my mom’s basil – she had got it as a gift from my aunt on mother’s day- just to see what would happen. Eventually one of the seeds in my mom’s pot sprouted but it didn’t do as well as the ones in my pots and eventually died.

The only step left was to transplant them. They were doing so well that I could tell they needed a new, bigger container. I chose a nice ceramic blue pot I found at Michael’s. It wasn’t easy to do because, as a beginner, I was afraid to harm and traumatize my plant. In fact, I had to spend several minutes trying to make sure each basil sprout wasn’t lopsided.

Here’s how I transplanted the basil:

  • I set up all the things I would need and placed them on the table (soil, new pot, plastic cup for scooping the soil, old newspapers for the table, basil sprouts).
  • I poured a decent amount of soil into the new pot- a little over half the pot. This could vary depending on the size of the pot you choose to use but mine was medium sized and pretty even width and height wise.
  • Then, very carefully, I took the plants out of their small terra cotta pots and put them into the bigger pot. In order to get them out, I had to gently flip them upside down, making sure my hand was covering the top if it fell out, and shake the pot to get it lose. Then I quickly inserted the plant into the new pot.
  • I added more soil carefully.
  • This was the tricky part: I had to be so very gentle and I fiddled with my plants a lot. I had to make sure they were surrounded by soil but not overwhelmed by it. I did everything I could so that the soil supported them and kept them upright but it took a while. I had to cover most of their stems to keep them straight, but it worked. If you have to add more soil, use your judgment. Adding more in certain spots can make the plant topple over in another direction.
  • Eventually, once they were straight enough, I watered the plant and put it back on the windowsill.

And then, magic happened. From there, it boomed and skyrocketed upward! I was so surprised and amazed by the beauty of it I almost didn’t want to pick it. The scent is incredible too and sometimes I’ll go to my window just to stick my nose in it.

Ultimately, I was not disappointed at the results and it’s still doing great! I haven’t had any problems with it so I highly recommend all beginners to give growing basil a shot. You won’t be disappointed as long as you give it love, care, and attention.

I’ll be posting more on my other container garden plants soon. Thanks, as always, for stopping by.

By Ariana Storniolo (Palmieri)

Ariana Storniolo is the founder of Greenify-Me, a blog dedicated to zero waste and sustainability. Her work has also been featured on Going Zero Waste, Green Matters, Mother Earth Living and several other online publications.


  1. Hello, I am anonymous and totally not your younger cousin. Am I your first comment? Because if so, then I think I deserve some sort of reward- just sayin'.
    Anyways, this was an awesome first, official post for your blog. Not EVERYone knows how to grow basil so you're definitely helping someone out. I can't wait until you have over a trillion posts on here so I can follow all of them and people will ask me how I've created and learned such remarkable concoctions (I shouldn't use big words). SO! Keep it up buttercup! I wanna see moooore >X]

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