Avg seeds/pkt 150
Purple basil is special. It’s famously fragrant leaves go from landscape to dinner in just minutes. Seeds are directly sown outdoors when soil temperatures are 65°F or warmer, but basil is easy to start inside for an early, first crop.
Six weeks before your average last frost date plant 2 seeds 1/4-inch deep in small pots of seed-starting mix and keep moist but not wet. Seedlings emerge within 10 days at 65°F. Make sure they receive 12 hours of bright light each day to produce strong stems that won’t bend under the weight of the large leaves.
After soil reaches 70°F, harden off seedlings for a few days and transplant into fertile, well-drained soil rich with organic matter, spacing them 10 inches apart. Give basil plenty of water on a regular basis and mulch heavily to prevent soil from splashing onto lower leaves. Side-dress with a balanced, granular fertilizer every couple of weeks.
When leaves are 3 inches long, harvest a few at a time, early in the day. Then, before flowers open on 24 inch plants, cut them off 6 inches from the ground so that a second crop can grow. Handle basil with care. Stems with leaves can be put in water for a few days before use, but should not go in the refrigerator.
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