Genovese Basil is widely regarded as the best for pesto and garlic-flavored dishes. Plants grow 20 to 30” and may yield up to 7 or 8 cuttings each! Medium dark green leaves average 2 to 3” in length and have a strong spicy fragrance and taste.
Slow to bolt! Average: 68 days
Detailed planting instructions:
Plant basil in fertile soil in a spot that gets direct sun for at least 6
hours per day. Pinch the tip from the center shoot of basil after it
has grown for 6 weeks to force side growth and prevent early flowering.
If flower stalks develop, simply snip them off.
Basil needs a steady supply of moisture and warm soil
temperatures to produce well, so you have to play a balancing act with
mulch. In cool areas, delay mulching until the soil temperature has
reached the mid-60s. Where summer really heats up and soil loses
moisture quickly, you can add mulch sooner.
This heat-loving herb is susceptible to even mild frost;
harvest the remainder of your crop if temperatures are predicted to dip
into the 30s.
Basil has few pests, but occasionally generalist pests
such as aphids, flea beetles, and Japanese beetles will feast upon it.
Rinse off aphids with a garden hose. To prevent beetles from munching,
cover the crop with fabric row cover. If slugs are a problem on new
transplants, try a barrier of copper flashing.
Diseases are more of an issue for basil-lovers. Fusarium
wilt of basil, first identified in the early 1990s, arrived via
infected seed imported from Italy. Symptoms include sudden wilting and
leaf drop, accompanied by dark streaks on the stems, usually in weather
above 80°F. If you notice these signs, quickly dig up the infected
plant, along with all soil around the roots, and discard it. If part of
your garden becomes infected, avoid spreading the disease by moving soil
around on your tools or tiller, and consider growing your basil in
Basil is also susceptible to a few bacterial rots that
show up on stems or leaf clusters, usually in cool, wet weather, often
late in the season. Keys to control include planting in well-drained
soil, spacing plants so they dry off after rain, and removing infected
plants from the patch.
Basil is at its most flavorful when fresh. The best time to harvest is
just as the plant starts to set flower buds, well before flowers bloom.
Basil is programmed to initiate flowering when it has six pairs of
leaves on a stalk. For maximum production per plant, cut it back to two
leaves per stem, and don’t let it grow past four pairs. You can harvest
the entire plant about every three weeks, and at the end of the season
there will be 12 to 24 lateral branches.
The later in the day you harvest basil, the longer it
stays fresh. In a perforated bag kept at around 60°F, it will keep for
10 to 14 days. In contrast, refrigerated basil lasts two or three days.
You can also store stems in a vase in your kitchen, close at hand for
cooking. As for flower bouquets, change water in the vase every few
To best maintain the flavor of dried basil, store it in
the freezer. To quick-freeze basil, dry whole sprigs and pack them in
plastic bags with the air pressed out. To dry basil, pinch leaves off
the stem and spread them out in a shady, well-ventilated area. Check in 3
or 4 days, and if they don’t crumble easily between your fingers,
finish drying in the oven; otherwise the leaves may turn brown or black
in storage. Use the lowest heat possible with the door slightly open,
turn leaves for even drying, and check them frequently.
Another method is to make pesto (or even basil processed
with olive oil), pack it into containers or ice cube trays, and freeze
it. Once cubes are frozen, you can pop them out of trays and into
plastic bags for easy storage.
Pinch back all season until fall, let them flower and dry. Pluck of
the tips of the dried flower stalk and lay it on a paper plate. Let it
stay there for a few days and then hold the plate in one hand while tapping the side with the other. Those little black seed just roll out and
gather at the bottom of the plate. It really is easy. Dry the leaves in the dehydrator and use them during the
- Comes in E-Z Lock resealable, reusable triple-layered foil packets
- Seeds are open pollinated and can be grown, harvested, and replanted endlessly
- Dried & sealed airtight for long-term storage
- Nutritional value: Contains vitamin A and vitamin C.