There’s simply nothing like the scent of fresh basil growing in the garden – except for the aroma of tomato plants growing nearby. Try germinating basil seeds for an easy-to-grow herb that offers many benefits in the garden and the kitchen.
Numerous varieties of basil are available at local garden centers or through favorite seed shops, catalogs, and websites. Some popular types include sweet basil, Genovese basil, lemon basil, cinnamon basil, opal basil (purple), holy basil, and Thai basil.
Whatever kind you decide to grow in your garden, you’ll be sure to fall in love with the fragrance as it greets you every day. Basil smells just as amazing as it tastes!
Germinating basil seeds happens fairly swiftly and the herb itself grows rather quickly as well. Try to germinate basil seeds indoors prior to the last frost in your area, or direct sow basil seeds in the garden anytime thereafter.
What Do Basil Seeds Look Like?
Basil seeds are small, dark seeds that are rounded yet a bit irregular in shape. They are generally dark brown to black and usually a little smaller than the size of sesame seeds.
What Do Basil Seed Pods Look Like?
Basil seed pods form where the flower stalks used to be. The seed pods of basil look very interesting – small brown capsules attached to the stalk contain numerous tiny black basil seeds. The small seeds are stored safely inside the pods until you break them open for planting or seed swaps.
Best Practices for Germinating Basil Seeds
Basil is easy to grow and very rewarding. Try these tips and best practices for starting basil from seed.
- Start your basil seeds indoors for a speedier harvest. Germinating basil seeds indoors gives you a helpful head start!Plant some basil seeds indoors six weeks or so before your last frost to get some healthy starts ready for planting season.
- Start your basil seeds in egg cartons. This is a fun activity you can do with your kids! Basil germinates fairly quickly, and egg cartons offer individual spaces to grow a variety of seeds.
- Be sure to label each kind of basil seeds you plant. Some, like purple opal basil, will be obvious in good time. Others will be helpful to identify ahead of time as you get used to the new varieties.
- As they get bigger, separate and pot up the basil seedlings. Aim to plant basil seedlings outside once the weather stays above 50 degrees overnight.
- Pinch basil seedlings to encourage branching. You’ll get a fuller plant that is less leggy by pinching. Also, don’t feel obligated to use what you pinch off the basil. You can actually stick it in water to get basil to root!
- Direct sow basil seeds in your garden if desired. The warmer temperatures should see the basil seeds sprouting quickly.
- Try basil companion plants. Plant basil seeds nearby complementary seedlings such as tomato (and all versions of tomatoes), asparagus, peppers, marigolds, borage, chamomile, and root vegetables, to name a few.
- Harden off basil seedlings germinated indoors before transplanting. For best chances of success, complete the hardening off process with your young basil seedlings before transplant.
Germinating basil seeds is easy and rewarding. The plants bring so much to the garden and the menu.
Once you’ve got your plan for germinating basil seeds, you can also brush up on some basil care tips for the lifetime of the plant.
Final Thoughts: Basil from Seed to Plate
Basil seeds grow quickly into young plants that allow you to harvest individual leaves for your garden-fresh recipes.
Use basil leaves directly after you pull or pinch them. Give a quick rinse if you wish, or use them right away.
You can find many delicious recipes featuring basil as a key ingredient. My own Balsamic Bruschetta Chicken Bake features garden tomatoes and fresh basil, making it a wonderful choice to show off your gardening and culinary prowess!
Germinating basil seeds leads to many wonderful things in and out of the garden. Here are some of the best benefits of growing basil:
- Basil is fun and easy to grow. Kids can really get into planting these tiny seeds.
- Germinating basil usually happens quickly. This plant is rewarding to grow from seed, and works well for succession planting.
- Many different crops benefit from basil as a companion plant. Basil repels tomato hornworms, as one example.
- Basil works well in many recipes. Growing it fresh at home ensures you’ll always have it ready for your next meal creation.
- The aroma of basil is nearly intoxicating. You’ll be sure to enjoy basil’s fragrance in the garden, especially paired with tomatoes.
- Basil is packed with many vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It’s a healthy choice for your garden, but more importantly, for your diet.
- Numerous other health benefits come from basil. According to WebMD, basil offers protective benefits from various illnesses and cancers. Basil also may reduce blood sugar and help with heart disease prevention.’
- Anxiety and stress reduction often occurs naturally with holy basil. This helpful herb is also known as Tulsi and it’s treasured for its own specific benefits.
If you don’t already grow basil, now is a fantastic time to start! Even if your growing season is partway through, basil makes a fantastic companion plant in the window kitchen herb garden.
What is your favorite kind of basil to grow? What are you most excited to cook or make with basil? Do you have any questions?
Let’s chat in the comments about germinating basil seeds and anything else that has to do with basil!