FoodProduction101

How to plant basil?

May 2, 2012 by  
Filed under Blog, Herbs

Wednesday 5-2-2012

I planted the first sowing of my sweet basil today. I will have 2 more sowings as the season progresses. I really like to space out my basil planting, so I can have a continuous supply of fresh basil throughout the season. If I have excess, which I typically do, I like to dry basil for winter use. Basil is a versatile herb that is a must have for any Italian dishes. 

 

Tools & materials needed?

Pointed hoe, screwdriver, sweet basil seed

 

Timing?

You should plant basil when the soil is warm, towards the end of spring. My first sowing is a little early, but I am trying to space out my basil plantings to maximize the amount of fresh basil that is available to me.

 

Soil type?

Basil likes well drained soil. It prefers a full sun site with plenty of water.

 

Companions basil loves?

Chamomile

 

Companions that love basil?

Peppers, tomatoes, asparagus, oregano

 

Depth?

Basil seed is a small sized seed that requires a shallow depth of just under the surface, less than ¼ inch depth. 

 

Spacing?

I put basil about an inch apart, although the seed is so small and light that I am never exact. I lean toward the side of putting them too close together because I will just eat the young basil if I get overcrowding, which is a better problem than big spaces if some don’t germinate. Mature basil should be about 6 inches apart.

 

How to plant the seed?

1. I mulch my garden, so I first take the side of my pointed hoe and gently pull the mulch away from the area I am going to plant.                                                                   

 

2. I make a very narrow, shallow trench just breaking the surface for the basil. This is where I use my old screwdriver. I like using the screwdriver for small seed because I don’t like to pull back a lot of soil. This makes it less likely that I will bury my tiny seeds too deep.

 

3. I drop the seed in the trench about 1 inch apart by taking a small pile of seed in my left hand, then taking a pinch of seed from the pile in my right hand. I then roll the seed between my thumb and index finger as I move my hand along my trench dropping seed in as I go. You will not get perfect spacing this way, and you will waste some seed, but it is a lot quicker than trying to plant each seed one at a time.

 

4. I gently rake only the soil back over the trench with the side of my pointed hoe, or you can lightly push the soil back by hand.

 

5. I lightly tamp the area with the back of the pointed hoe to connect the seed to the soil.

 

6. I push the mulch very near where I planted the basil, but I will wait for the basil to get some height before putting the rest of the mulch back.

 

7. Water your seeds in. Make sure to keep the soil moist until germination.

 

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