This is the classic basil.
Days To Maturity
Container Plant, Fragrant
Direct Sow/Indoor Sow
Basil may be grown from seed sown early indoors and transplanted outside after frost, or sown directly in the garden, or planted as a potted plant.
Sowing Seed Indoors:
- Sow basil seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost in spring using a seed starting kit
- Sow seeds ¼ inches deep in seed-starting formula
- Keep the soil moist at 70 degrees F
- Seedlings emerge in 7-14 days
- As soon as seedlings emerge, provide plenty of light on a sunny windowsill or grow seedlings 3-4 inches beneath fluorescent plant lights turned on 16 hours per day, off for 8 hours at night. Raise the lights as the plants grow taller. Incandescent bulbs will not work for this process because they will get too hot. Most plants require a dark period to grow, do not leave lights on for 24 hours.
- Seedlings do not need much fertilizer, feed when they are 3-4 weeks old using a starter solution (half strength of a complete indoor houseplant food) according to manufacturer’s directions.
- If you are growing in small cells, you may need to transplant the seedlings to 3 or 4 inch pots when seedlings have at least 3 pairs of leaves before transplanting to the garden so they have enough room to develop strong roots.
- Before planting in the garden, seedling plants need to be “hardened off”. Accustom young plants to outdoor conditions by moving them to a sheltered place outside for a week. Be sure to protect them from wind and hot sun at first. If frost threatens at night, cover or bring containers indoors, then take them out again in the morning. This hardening off process toughens the plant’s cell structure and reduces transplant shock and scalding.
Sowing Directly in the Garden:
- Direct sow in average soil in full sun after all danger of frost when the soil is at least 60 degrees F.
- Remove weeds and work organic matter into the top 6-8 inches of soil; then level and smooth.
- Sow seeds evenly and cover with ¼ inches of fine soil.
- Firm the soil lightly and keep evenly moist.
- Seedlings will emerge in 7-14 days, possibly longer in cooler soils.
Planting in the Garden:
- Select a location in full sun with good rich moist organic soil.
- Prepare the bed by turning the soil under to a depth of 8 inches. Level with a rake to remove clumps of grass and stones.
- Dig a hole for each plant large enough to amply accommodate the root ball.
- Carefully remove the plant from its pot and gently loosen the root ball with your hands to encourage good root development.
- Place the top of the root ball even with the level of the surrounding soil. Fill with soil to the top of the root ball. Press soil down firmly with your hand.
- Use the plant tag as a location marker.
- Thoroughly water and apply a light mulch layer on top of the soil (1-2 inches) to conserve water and reduce weeds.
- Keep weeds under control during the growing season. Weeds compete with plants for water, space and nutrients, so control them by either cultivating often or use a mulch to prevent their seeds from germinating.
- Mulches also help retain soil moisture and maintain even soil temperatures. For herbs, an organic mulch of aged bark or shredded leaves lends a natural look to the bed and will improve the soil as it breaks down in time. Always keep mulches off a plant’s stems to prevent possible rot.
- Keep plants well-watered during the growing season, especially during dry spells. Plants need about 1 inch of rain per week during the growing season. Use a rain gauge to check to see if you need to add water. It’s best to water with a drip or trickle system that delivers water at low pressure at the soil level. If you water with overhead sprinklers, water early in the day so the foliage has time to dry off before evening, to minimize disease problems. Keep the soil moist but not saturated. Basil should not be allowed to dry out.
- Pinch the stems to encourage bushiness. Pinch flowers off to prolong the harvest.
- Monitor for pests and diseases. Check with your local Cooperative Extension Service for pest controls recommended for your area.
- Discard plants after they bloom.
- Pinch leaves from the tips of the stems as needed starting 60-90 days after the seedlings have two sets of leaves.
- If fresh, pick early in the morning for highest oil content.
- For drying or freezing, harvest leaves that have their maximum oil content, just before flowering.
- To harvest the leaves, pinch the stems just above a set of leaves as needed from the top. This will also help keep the plants bushy.
- Do not harvest too much of the plant at one time as this may weaken the plant.
- Flowers are also edible and may be used as a garnish.
- To dry, cut whole stems on a dry morning. Tie stems loosely together in small bunches and hang in a dry, airy location out of the sun. Basil may also be dried on a cheesecloth or a window screen in a dry, shady location. When thoroughly dry, store in a tightly sealed glass jar in a dry, dark location.
- Basil may be frozen dry on a cookie sheet and then sealed in zip lock bags, or it can be minced and frozen in an ice cube tray in water or olive oil.
- You can also preserve basil using sea salt. Place a layer of sea salt on the bottom of the container you will use. Place a leaf on top of the salt. Add a layer of salt to cover the leaf so the leaves do not touch each other. Make as many layers are you have room for and seal the container and place in the refrigerator.
SunFull SunDays To Maturity60-90 daysLife CycleAnnualHeight12-18 inchesSpread10-14 inchesAdditional UsesContainer Plant, FragrantSow MethodDirect Sow/Indoor SowPlanting TimeSpring, SummerThin12 inches
Basil, Sweet is rated out of 5 by 24.Rated 5 out of 5 by windowsillgrower1 from Window box indoors Last year I bought a pack of the Sweet Basil to plant in a window box on my indoor windowsill in my living room because this window gets the West sun. I crossed my fingers and planted the seeds....the basil which grew was magnificent. I used it all summer long. I used it for sauce, tomato, mozzarella and basil and so much more. I kept pinching the little buds so they would get thicker and branch out. I can't tell you how happy I was with the crop!!! I'm buying another pack today to do the same thing this year. I just wish I had an outdoor garden, but I live in an apartment with only my West facing window. I'll take what I can get :) Can't wait to get the pack and plant my basil again Happy planting everyone...you won't be sorry with this herb!!!Date published: 2015-05-27Rated 5 out of 5 by Peter1142 from Best choice to grow Very easy to grow, survived abuse started indoors. Growing rapidly and producing prolifically with full flavor.Date published: 2014-06-30Rated 5 out of 5 by GRAMMIEBUD from PROLIFIC PRODUCER I started my seeds indoors and planted them around my tomatoes, hoping to ward off some insects. Must have worked because I had no whiterflies this season. The basil aromatic and adds a deep, basil taste to my homemade spaghetti sauce. Survived the heat and humidity of summer in SE North Carolina.Date published: 2013-09-05Rated 5 out of 5 by FarmerTK from Back for More Sweet Basil Great yield, great aroma and great taste. And it's resilient to boot. I thought my row was done for, initially when trampled on by a buffoon exterminator, and on several occasions over the summer when the whole area pooled with water after thunderstorms. But you just can't keep basil this good down! My wife used it for homemade pesto, as a garnish, and together with fresh mozzarella, tomato and roasted red peppers. I went the direct sow route and had ample plants still going strong into the autumn.Date published: 2012-11-30Rated 5 out of 5 by Ruben from Packs a wallop! If you're a first year gardener like me and are looking for an easy to grow herb, try this guy out! It's survived two hail storms, several biblical style insect plagues, and, worse, me. I, honestly, went crazy planting seeds, thinking I'd kill half or all of them before I got to enjoy any of the leaves, but I was completely wrong! Every single seed sprouted and now I have more basil than I know what to do with. It grows like crazy and the scent it gives off when you run your hands through it is intoxicating. I do have one warning, though. The flavor is not subtle! I was used to the stuff from the grocery store and when I went to make myself a tomato, mozzarella, and basil bruschetta I was punched in the face by the flavor! You definitely need to use less leaves than the stuff you get from the store. I heard the plants with bigger leaves aren't as strong. So, I will be attempting to grow some of those varieties next.Date published: 2012-05-21Rated 5 out of 5 by Cindee from Beautiful growth I have used these seeds for two years now, every seed germanates and I get a beautiful carpet of basil and when I thin it, I have enough plants to share.Date published: 2012-05-11Rated 5 out of 5 by Kgardner from Great Basil We have planted Sweet Basil from Burpee for many years, always starting it indoors under grow lights and putting it out after July 4. It is prolific until mid September when it begins to die off due to the Pacific NW climate. Then we harvest it, making pesto and freezing the result so we enjoy it long afterwards Fantastic basil flavors!Date published: 2012-05-09Rated 5 out of 5 by woodchopper from Basil Sweet Good seed Strong plantsDate published: 2012-05-09