Basil Planting and Care Guide
Quick Facts About Basil
Basil is one of the best-known herbs, and it is a tender annual that has been grown in kitchen gardens and pots for centuries. There are different varieties of Basil that offer unique flavors in cuisines around the world. Basil leaves can be harvested and used in food dishes fresh, or the leaves can be dried for future use.
Basil plants are frost sensitive, so plant the herb seeds outdoors directly into the garden after frost danger has passed. Or, the Basil seeds can be started indoors as early as 6 week prior to the last frost, and then harden the seedlings off and plant in the garden once the weather has warmed.
Choose a place that receives at least 6 hours of sun each day. Protection from wind may be needed as well as some shade in hotter climates from the afternoon and everning sun. Basil thrives and has the best flavor in lean soils. If the soil is rich, the plant will have lush growth, but the fragrance and flavor will be mild. Basil leaves can be clipped and used fresh, so plant in a location that is close to the kitchen.
How to Plant Basil
- Loosen the soil 3 to 4 inches in depth
- Add compost or organic matter to ensure the soil has good drainage
- Sow the herb seeds 1/4 inch deep, and thin plants to 8 inches apart
- Rows should be 18 - 24 inches apart depending on the variety
- Keep the soil moist for germination
Care And Maintenance
- The best maintenance for Basil is to clip the leaves and use them - the more the leaves are pinched, the more they grow
- Mulch around the base of the plant to help retain moisture
- Do not over water - Basil prefers to be well-drained
- Basil plants will not survive frost, but the plants can be put into pots and brought indoors for year round use
- Place potted Basil plants in south facing, sunny windows