Basil leaves grow in warm, frost-free weather and light, well-draining soil. Use the aromatic leaves in all your summer meals. Plant basil seeds indoors four to six weeks before the last frost date, or start seeds outdoors when the weather begins to warm up in the spring. Staggering planting times by a week or two will give you a continuous summer harvest. To increase production from each plant, clip off the flowers before the plant goes to seed.
Drop the basil seeds onto the soil in a seed starting flat or in a prepared bed. Space the seeds 1 to 2 inches apart. Cover the seeds with a 1/4 inch of light top soil or vermiculite.
Thin the seedlings to 12 inches apart when they are 4 to 6 inches tall. Transplant the seedlings you remove during thinning, or take the young plants to the kitchen.
Space multiple rows of basil plants 2 to 3 inches apart. Alternately, create a 3-foot-wide bed and space the plants 12 inches apart.