Tips for Growing Fresh Basil {Recipe: Cucumber Basil Bites}

Written by Kristen of Dine and Dish.

I don’t have a green thumb. I’ve tried and tried gardening throughout the years but for some reason, it’s not a skill I can seem to grasp.

With that said, I am probably not one who should be sharing gardening tips with you, however, I have found one thing I can grow really well and if I can grow it, I know you can too. Fresh basil!

Fresh basil is one of life’s little pleasures, in my opinion. It grows big and plentiful, has a most wonderful aroma and can add the perfect amount of garden fresh flavor to your recipes. Every variety of basil I’ve tried to grow has succeeded without a lot of extra attention from me. Low maintenance, easy to grow, and high on yield… that’s my kind of plant!

Tips for Growing Fresh Basil

  1. Plant or seed? When deciding between starting out with a basil plant or seed, I strongly suggest to start with a plant. If you like immediate gratification, you’ll want to choose a plant, as a well tended basil plant begins growing immediately and you’ll see quick results. Choosing to go the seed route just means waiting longer for your basil plant to produce.
  2. Garden versus pot? Basil grows well in both pots with a good drainage system or a well tended garden space. If you live in a climate with ever changing temperatures, I suggest planting basil in a pot. Basil has a tendency to be finicky when it comes to colder temperatures, so having the ability to bring the pot indoors in changing climates will help to preserve your basil plant.
  3. Soil: Basil likes fertilized soil. Add fertilizer to the soil once a month to keep your basil plant happy and producing well.
  4. Harvesting: What I enjoy most about basil is, when tended correctly, it is a vibrant, producing plant. To harvest, simply snip off the leaves you need towards the top of the plant. It will continue to grow and produce and with luck, you’ll have fresh basil all year long!

Even if your thumb is closer to black than green, give growing fresh basil a try. You can’t beat the flavor of fresh basil added to your pasta, eggs, pizza, etc. The possibilities are endless.

Cucumber Basil Bites

A simple bite featuring fresh summer produce.
4.5 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizer
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 56kcal
Author: Kristen


  • 1 large cucumber sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
  • 2 Roma tomatoes cut into 1/4 inch rounds
  • 4 large fresh basil leaves diced
  • 1/3 cup Gouda cheese shaved into ribbons
  • 3 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
  • Kosher salt and cracked black pepper to taste


  • Arrange sliced cucumbers on a serving platter. Top each with 1 tomato slice, a sprinkle of basil, 1 Tablespoon Gouda cheese and a drizzle of Balsamic Vinegar.
  • Sprinkle with Kosher salt and cracked black pepper to taste.
  • Refrigerate and serve cold.


Calories: 56kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 13mg | Sodium: 94mg | Potassium: 135mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 280IU | Vitamin C: 4.3mg | Calcium: 88mg | Iron: 0.2mg


What herbs do you grow at home?

About Kristen

Kristen Doyle is a mom of 4 young children and the face behind the food blog, Dine & Dish. Sharing recipes that are quick and simple to get on the table, Kristenโ€™s goal is to provide a resource for others looking to simplify their lives in order to reconnect with their family, one meal at a time.

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  1. We started growing herbs for the first time this year. We have thyme, oregano, chives, mint and parsley. I had planned on growing basil as well but all the plants were bought up by the time I arrived…it’s definitely on my list for next year.

  2. These cucumber basil bites sound delicious! Can’t wait to give them a try with the basil currently growing in our garden ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thank you!

  3. I always tell people to pluck off the flowers if you see them coming in too. This will help to encourage large leaf production. If the flowers come in, the leaves tend to not grow as large

  4. I am have a total brown thumb, but always love giving basil a try each year. It usually only lasts for a month before I somehow kill it (usually over- or under-watering). So these are great tips – thank you! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Basil is my favorite to have on hand and always make enough pesto sauce for the freezer at the end of the season. Rosemary and thyme are two others that I find easy and hardy. The recipe sounds yummy. Will try it soon. Thanks!

  6. I just planted two cucumber plants and have plenty of basil growing in the garden – thanks for the yummy suggestion!

  7. I adore fresh basil. The dried stuff just doesn’t compare at all! And there are so many varieties of it, each with their own unique taste. We grow purple basil, because it’s gorgeous, along with lemon basil and Thai basil, which has a licorice-ish taste that’s amazing in Asian cooking.

  8. I’m going to give this a try in a pot. I tried it in the garden but our hot temps killed it within days. Do you think it will grow indoors by a window?

  9. I love growing basil and the one tip I tell everyone is pinch back the stems to grow more! Thanks to this hot weather my basil is going crazy, it loves heat! Thanks for the reminder to fertilize it, I need to do that!

  10. I’m the opposite: I can grow almost any herb but basil (and mint)! My biggest problem is pests. Somehow the bugs find the basil and I can’t keep them out. I also can’t seem to grow them vibrantly; it’s like they end up looking like sticks with a few leaves here and there.

    I have more like with herbs that don’t die seasonally or every year like rosemary, thyme, oregano, lemon verbena and such. We moved last year so I’ve been lazy with planting an herb garden. But I do have a zucchini plant in its infancy right now!

  11. We planted basil, thai basil, and another basil I forget the name (the leaves are tiny so you don’t have to chop them if you don’t want) in a pot this year. In another pot we did thyme, tarragon, sage, and oregano. I also have a rosemary plant. I can’t get enough of fresh herbs!

  12. Laura M. says

    My 3 year old and I just planted herbs in pots about 2 days ago! We planted basil, thyme, parsley, and cilantro. And we hope to go back and get some rosemary and mint, which they were out of. It is our little project to do together. He likes to just pick a basil leaf and walk around munching on it! ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. So true! I usually have what I call a “black thumb” (which is especially ironic since my maiden name was Green).

    But, last year I managed to keep a basil plant alive all year! Woohoo! It only died in January when I forgot to bring it inside on a freezing night. This year I got brave, and have basil and mint, plus just 2 days ago I bought my very first tomato plant! I’m excited. ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. I am a gardener and have to admit I guess my thumb is a bit greenish; 20 years of practice will do that.

    I used to have a large veggie garden in the summer but as my children have grown and demand has lessened I’ve just grown more and more herbs. I should have an herb stand in the front…I have SO many!

    One thing I know that is important with basil is to keep the flowers pinched off. They take a lot of energy that we want instead going into leaf production. Go Basil! Going out to get some now even; love a simple basil and tomato pasta with some mozzarella; that’s now for dinner.

  15. We just moved to a spot where I don’t get much sun. ๐Ÿ™ But, your dish looks so yummy that I need to rethink how to grow some herbs.
    Thanks for a great post!

  16. Melissa @ Baking For The Boys says

    I had a lovely and thriving basil plant in my vegetable patch. Last week my 270 lb. Dad stepped on it. I heard a snap and crunch-now it is sad & struggling. He thought it was a weed. I guess he was excited about the tomatoes! ๐Ÿ™‚ I love growing basil!

  17. Linda Crosbie says

    5 stars
    This year is my first year growing an organic garden. I bought the organic seedlings from I am growing all types of herbs; Sage, Thyme, Rosemary, Oregano, Thai Basil, Lemon Basil, Genovese Basil, (yes I went a little nuts on Basil varieties!), Lemon Grass, (donโ€™t know if this will grow properly due to the overwhelming drought), Mint, in a container b/c it tends to take over the garden, etc.
    The best part is that along with all the veggies Iโ€™m growing, I have an abundance of fresh herbs every day. So easy to take care of and the grow like mad!

  18. Hey there! Iโ€™m at work surfing around your blog from my new iphone! Just wanted to say I love reading through your blog and look forward to all your posts! Keep up the superb work!

  19. I love fresh basil! We try to grow basil/cilantro/parsley every year. I am also trying to grow chamomile, but I think I may have planted when it was too hot…because it isn’t growing. I will try again in the fall. I have never thought to pair basil with cucumber, it sounds delicious! I am big on tomatoes and basil though…and pesto made with walnuts instead of pine nuts ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. basil, mint, parsley…well, actually, my son and husband grow them!

  21. 5 stars
    I haven’t plan this fresh basil in my mini garden. Thanks for this information. You give me idea to plan this one for my recipe. I think I will look for the seed of this on the market.

  22. Stacie M. says

    These look amazing! I just pinned the recipe and will give it a try for sure.

  23. Every year I grow basil and it does fabulous until Japanese beetles come and gnaw on the leaves from the outside in. It’s so frustrating. Any thoughts on how to deter them?

  24. 4 stars
    Thanks for sharing us about this fresh basil and how it could add taste to the recipes.

  25. The food is so delicious and very nutritious. I can definitely eat a lot of this food. Thanks for the recipe.

  26. 4 stars
    I tried this recipe but it does not deserve 5 stars that’s for sure. I used my own recipe and it turned out amazing thanks for trying anyways.

  27. My wife and I always looking for a simple but tasty (and different) snack/hors d’oeuvres recipe.

    This one fits the bill and then some !

    Very interesting array of flavors. Printed out recipe and adding to my recipe library.

    Thanks for the new idea !

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