Basil Ocimum basilicum
Very sensitive to frost.
Sow outside 1-2 weeks after average last frost, when temperatures are warm (nighttime temperatures are above 50°F). Three or four successive sowings every 3 weeks.
Depth: 1/4" Spacing: Group of 4 seeds every 6" - 18" (see variety) Emergence: 5-10 days Thinning: @2", thin to 1 every 6" -18" (see variety)
Harvest before basil flowers. Harvest in the morning for more flavor. Young, top leaves taste best and can be used fresh. Older leaves can be used for pesto and vinegar. Cut a few stems at a time but never more than 1/3 of the plant. Wash stems, gently shake dry, and strip leaves from stem. Basil is very frost sensitive, so harvest entire plant if temperatures are predicted to drop to 32° F.
A small-leaved, mounded basil, only 12″ diameter by 6″ tall. Despite its diminutive size, it still has a very strong basil flavor and fragrance. Very slow bolting. Excellent border plant for the flower garden. When harvesting, you can cut the main stem, leaving at least 3 pairs of leaves near ground; the plant will regrow to produce additional leaves. Pick as late in the day as possible. Space plants 6-12″ apart.
Genovese basil has a strong fragrance and flavor, making it ideally suited for almost any basil dish, especially pesto. Edible flowers are tasty in salads. A good container variety. Can be grown in a sunny window over winter. Space plants 10″ apart.
A basil with a mild sweet flavor. Use in any recipe calling for basil. Grow as a companion for tomatoes or as an ornamental, especially eye-popping planted with Lemon Drop marigolds.
An improvement over old Thai basils: impressive yields with leaves twice the size, 3″ – 4″ long by 1.5″ – 2″ wide. Perfect variety for containers or flower gardens. Space plants 12-18″ apart.