This Classic Italian Basil is enjoyed throughout the world for its sweet, spicy and unique aroma and delicious flavours that can be used in just about any Italian dish. With a fast, strong growth habit and its ability to be grown up to the first frosts, or year-round inside, this a seed to include today.
- Pack size: 150 seeds
- Time to germination: 8 - 21 days
- When to sow indoors: February – August
- When to sow outside: April - August
- Spacing: 20cm
- Soil preference: Moist, fertile, well-drained
- Light preference: Full sun
- When to harvest: July - October
How to grow Organic Italian Basil Classic from seed
Conventional wisdom and other information found on the web encourages us to sow one, two or maybe five seeds per pot. Nurture them and eventually plant them out to grow (hopefully) to full-sized specimens. Part of our mission at Grow Sow Greener is to encourage more success and enjoyment in the garden by filtering out profit-driven, often environmentally damaging methods derived from the industrial horticultural industry in favour of techniques suited to the home gardener.
Basil cultivation is one where home gardeners should learn from industry. The following was our method when growing commercially for the fine dining trade. It results in single pots or clumps, aesthetically packed with pungent vibrant basil.
Sow one pot every fortnight from late February, and harvest one pot every fortnight from May for use in the kitchen as needed. Fill 8cm coco pots with moist, good quality compost and place in a small bowl of water 2cms deep. Basil loves a moist environment, and the water will wick up the compost as needed. Scatter a pinch of seeds around the pot, evenly and right to the edges. Aim for 20 seeds; however, a few more or less won’t hurt.
Mist the seeds from time to time with a spray bottle to keep moist. Your seeds should start to resemble frogs eggs; this is their natural method of keeping moist.
Grow under LED lights or on a sunny windowsill until a few leaves have developed, then plant out in a sunny and sheltered spot. In a greenhouse, under your tomatoes is best. Alternatively, put the pot and bowl of water under your cucumbers. The water will keep your basil happy, and unlike the tomatoes, the cues will appreciate the extra humidity. Keep the water between a third and halfway up the coco coir pot.
Harvest the whole clump or pot in one go and leave the stems in water in the kitchen (so they actually get used) where they will happily stay fresh for the two weeks until the next harvest, replacing your tasteless herb rack with a fragrant kitchen and flavoursome healthy dishes.
This is simple, efficient gardening.
What to feed your Basil Plants
Fill your pots with a nitrogen-heavy, rich mix. Amend a good quality compost with farmyard manure and fish, blood and bone meal. Add some volcanic rock dust and kelp powder, if time and budget allows, for a balanced and diverse diet.
After harvesting, break apart the pots, compost and roots, and mulch around any green, non-fruiting garden vegetable. The excess organic nutrients will leach out, giving them a boost, saving you the disposal job.
Keeping pests away
Growing such tightly spaced clumps or pots will run the risk of fungal infection.
This method works, and fungal problems are avoided because we are watering the bowl rather than wetting the soil and leaves. By harvesting the whole group of plants regularly, rather than keeping larger specimens alive the whole season, we lessen the time for the disease to set in. In short, a lack of water around the foliage and a short time to harvest negates any problems here.