I disagree with the gravel on the bottom. The idea is that it helps with drainage-- it doesn't. I just fill my pots with the dirt.
Parsley may come back every year depending on how cold it gets. Mine didn't come back this year, but we had a really cold winter. Basil will usually not come back-- it's an annual. You also need to make sure the basil doesn't "go to seed"-- meaning you should not let it flower. Otherwise, it will start to taste bitter. To encourage continued leaf growth, let it grow a few inches, then start to pinch back at the junctures-- where the two leaves start to grow at the base of the leaf-- every now and then. More as the plant gets taller.
at 1:06 PM on May. 31, 2009