Growing Basil from Seed to Harvest Posted on 3 Jul 14:22 , 2 comments
Basil is a favorite for most home gardeners and homesteaders. It's easy to grow and usually prolific. At Mary's Heirloom Seeds, we offer quite a few unique varieties such as Dark Purple Opal Basil, Thai Holy Basil and even Lemon Basil.
Seed Starting Basics
Sow Basil seeds indoors 2-4 weeks before your last frost day OR sow seeds outside when soil is warm and temperatures do not drop below 65 F during the day. Seeds should be sown less than 1/4 inch deep in moist, well-drained soil.
Basil seeds usually germinate in as few as 5-7 days. Make successive sowings of basil seeds for continuous summer harvests.
Caring for Basil
From seed to harvest, Basil is ready in as few as 45 days. Basil can grow in full sun as as little as 6 hours of sun. Space Basil plants about 12 inches apart or interplant basil between larger plants such as Tomatoes and Peppers.
Water basil when soil is dry to the touch and try to water soil and not leaves. In warmer months, Basil will need more water.
Basil is pretty pest tolerant but you might see the occasional flea beetle marks or leaf miners. Aphids can usually be sprayed of with a water hose.
Dark Purple Opal Basil grown in a container
Companion Planting with Basil
Plant with tomatoes, peppers, squash, oregano, asparagus and other herbs. Basil can be planted with just about every veggie.
Basil is said to repel thrips, flies and mosquitoes.
One healthy, well pruned Basil plant can produce around 1/2 cup of leaves every week. If you're limited on space, there are even dwarf varieties such as Dwarf Greek Basil.
Once mature, harvest basil leaves regularly to promote healthy growth. It is usually recommended to harvest from the top of the plant, using scissors or fingernails. Try to cut as close to the stem as possible.
Pinching off flowers is recommended to keep a continuous harvest all summer long. Flowering is also called "bolting" and the plant will put forth more energy for flower production. If you wish to save the seeds, allow your plants to bolt.
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BASIL LEMONADE (text version
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