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Growing & Caring for Basil

Basil is a medium green, aromatic leaf with a bushy appearance. It is highly fragrant and is commonly used in Italian cuisine. Though it is easy to grow, Basil is a summer only plant so prepare to preserve it for later use.

How to Grow Basil:


  • Start basil seedlings indoors 6-8 weeks before last spring frost. Soil temperature should be between 65-70 degrees F.
  • Plant 1/2 inch deep in small peat pots.
  • Basil plants can be grown in containers for their full life cycle or kept indoors. Or you can transplant outdoors once there are at least two sets of true leaves.


  • Basil can be planted directly into garden once all danger of frost has passed and soil has reached a temperature of 70 degrees F.
  • Space basil 10 to 12 inches apart in light, well-drained soil that gets full sun.
  • Space rows about 24 inches apart since plants can grow to 12-15 inches wide.


  • Harvest as you need basil from the top of the plant.
  • To get the most out of your basil be sure to properly prune it. When seedlings get 6 leaves prune to above second set. Then, once each branch gets 6-8 leaves prune back to first leaf set on that branch.
  • Freeze or dry leaves to store for a longer period. To quick-freeze basil, dry whole sprigs of basil and package them in airtight plastic bags. To dry them, cut entire plant to soil level and hang the plant in a warm place until fully dried, then store the leaves in a resealable bag or container for up to a year.

Growing Tips

  • Water consistently and keep the soil moist.
  • You can also use basil in the garden as a companion plant to repel aphids, mites, and tomato hornworms.

Pests to Watch For:

  • Aphids
  • Slugs
  • Beetles
  • Variety of bacterial and fungal leaf, stem, and root diseases

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