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re: Growing Basil From Seed

Last year I planted 2 packages of basil seeds directly in my garden and not even one plant came up.
Has anyone had success with basil seeds? Should I start them indoors?

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  1. We've always had success growing basil from seeds. Around the middle of April, we just scatter seeds between 12 tomato plants on a raised bed. Always have more than we can use by September. We live on a hill south of San Francisco and not particularly hot.

    1. I have both direct seeded and started seed indoors. I grew a large variety for a couple years and started the seeds indoors to make sure I got the rarer varieties to grow. I also start seeds every couple weeks to keep it coming in sufficient quantities.

      I direct seed the same way as PBSF. with Genovese. I would guess I have more plants per seeding when I start them, but plenty still come up.

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      1. re: NanH

        I have found that when I let one or two plants go to flower and then seed; after the seed pods dry I will strip them off the stems of the plant and reseed immediately. I have found the Basil will not germinate here in S.W. Florida when the soil temp gets below an average of 55*F The best part of this is I believe by using the seeds I have protected the current generation of plants against Fusarium Wilt, a heretofor common problem with purchased seedlings.

      2. It depends on where you are. My mom direct-seeded hers in Florida, and I have a friend in the DC area who had more basil than she knew what to do with when she direct-seeded, but my season is enough shorter (Europe) that I really, really need to start them indoors.

        1. Your location might be helpful. Here in NH I tend to sow basil seed outdoors in large pots probably in early June. The problem with that is I don't thin them well enough. I suspect if you did not have good germination you didn't provide enough water.

          1. I'm in Massachusetts in zone 6A and have always had to start basil seed...of any variety, indoors. I have the best luck with that. Kept under grow lights they do very well and are strong and hardy when planted into the garden soil. In years when the soil hasn't heated up enough by 30 May or so (the traditional planting date for tender annuals around here) I've placed them in the cold frame to harden off.