Choose the right size pot for your purpose. Basil can grow successfully in any size pot, so it's adaptable to mini herb gardens on a windowsill, as well as to large pots outdoors. A pot of approximately 15 1/2 inches in diameter and 12 inches deep is a good choice for growing a large harvest of basil for both fresh use and drying. Make sure that the pot has holes on the bottom to allow for drainage.
Clean the inside of the pot with water diluted with a few drops of bleach to kill any harmful bacteria. Rinse the pot thoroughly before adding potting soil.
Fill the pot to about an inch from the top with fresh, high-quality potting soil for vegetables and flowers.
Plant the basil seeds. Some seed companies recommend spacing the seeds anywhere from one inch to six inches apart, but basil seeds are tiny and difficult to pick up. It's easier and just as effective to gently sow a small handful of seeds---about the size of a dime---by placing them in the palm of one hand and then rubbing your hands together to distribute them evenly over the soil.
Cover the seeds with 1/4 inch of soil. Gently water them to get the soil evenly moist.
Place the pot outdoors in an area that gets full sun. Indoors, place the pot near a sunny south window.
Keep the soil evenly moist until sprouts emerge. As the plants mature, don't let the soil dry out in the pot. You may need to water more frequently during very hot, dry weather.