The rich, spicy taste of fresh or dried basil adds an immense amount of flavor to any dish. Easy to grow both indoors and out, basil is an annual herb that requires very little care considering the benefits you can reap from the fresh leaves of the plant. Basil can be grown in the garden from seed, started indoors and transplanted, or grown in a container on your balcony or kitchen window.
Sow Direct in the Garden
Create a row in the garden by using the hoe to dig a 1/2-inch trench.
Sow basil seed in the trench, spacing the seed approximately 3 inches apart. Cover the seed with 1/8 to 1/4 inch of dirt.
Thin the plants to one plant every 12 inches after the seeds have germinated and the seedlings have grown to around 2 inches tall.
Harvest basil leaves anytime after the lower four leaves of the plant are established. Prune the plant often, leaving only the lower four to six leaves to encourage growth.
Starting Seed Indoors
Mix together three parts potting soil and one part sand in a large bucket or tub.
Fill the desired number of peat pots with the potting soil mixture. You will need one peat pot for every basil plant you plan to grow.
Water the peat pots, soaking the soil throughout.
Place two basil seeds in each peat pot on top of the wet soil. Cover with just enough potting soil mixture to cover the seeds.
Place plastic wrap over the peat pots to encourage germination. Remove the wrap as soon as the seedlings are visible.
Water the plants to keep the soil moist to the touch.
Transplant to the garden or into one-gallon planting containers when the plants reach 3 to 5 inches tall.
About this Author
G. K. Bayne is a freelance writer, currently writing for Demand Studios where her expertise in back-to-basics, computers and electrical equipment are the basis of her body of work. Bayne began her writing career in 1975 and has written for Demand since 2007.