Basil, Sweet Genovese
Heirloom. Organic, Ocimum basilicum 'Genovese' is an annual native to India, Africa, and Asia. One of the most popular herbs, it is now cultivated in all temperate climates throughout the world. Of all the basils to grow, and there are about 150 varieties, Genovese basil is one of the best because it yields 7 to 8 cuttings and makes the best pesto. In Italy, it is considered a sign of love. When a woman puts out a pot of basil, it means she is ready to receive her suitor. In France, it is called herbe royale. In India, it is sacred, dedicated to Vishnu and Krishna. Basil represents the essence of the summer garden. It is not hard to grow from seed, which germinates readily at temperatures between 75-85 degrees. Contrary to most cultivation information on basil, it does not mind slightly acid soil or partial shade. As a matter of fact, it will do best in an area protected from the wind and scorching midday sun. It likes rich, well-drained soil and will grow best in soil enhanced with well-composted manure. It hates cold and should be planted out only when night temperatures reach 50 to 55 degrees.
Planting Sweet Genovese Basil While starting seeds of the Genovese Basil is not necessarily difficult; the right conditions will make the process successful. Some gardeners sow Genovese Basil Seeds directly in the ground in the spring when the threat of frost has passed or start in containers two to four weeks before transplanting into soil. Keep the ground moist but not wet for the first couple of weeks. Pick a sunny, well-drained spot for planting for the best performance. Prefers a well-drained fertile soil in a sunny position. Heirloom / Open Pollinated Genovese Basil are cool weather loving plants that prefer well drained loose soil and an even amount of water. Plant heirloom Genovese Basil in rows or hills but make sure the soil is well warmed. In cooler climates, you can start Genovese Basil seeds indoors 4 wks. before last frost to extend the growing season. Plant seeds 1/8" deep. Plant seeds or set out Genovese Basil transplants in full sun. Germination should occur in 10-15 days in soil 70-85°F.
In rows thin plants to or set out transplants 12-18" apart. Height: 24-30” Spacing: 12-18" inches, 12-18 inches between rows Depth: 1/8 inch Germination: 10-15 days
Starting from Seed Indoors
Generally, the time to start your seeds is about 2-4 weeks before the last expected spring frost date in your area, planting the seedlings outdoors about 2 weeks after that date. Another way to figure is to plan on setting out sturdy seedlings in the garden when night temperatures stay in the mid-50 degree range both day and night. Count back and sow seeds 2 weeks before that date normally arrives. Place a few seeds (5 to 10) into each pot and push them into the soil with your finger. Cover the seeds to a depth of approximately 1/8 inches of the potting mix. Mist each pot with water until the soil appears moist. Place the pots in an area which will provide both light (which is required for germination) and heat, preferably about 65 to 70 degrees F and at least 8 hours of light each day. Check on the seeds every day and keep the seeds damp but not drenched by misting with your plant mister. You should see sprouting in about 21 to 25 days. Once your seedlings have reached about 1 to 2 inches in height, choose an area in your garden to transfer them. You can also use containers like barrels or clay pots. Fill up each hole with water then let it drain off. Place a pot in the hole center and level so that your seedling is at the same level as the surrounding soil. Push dirt in carefully all the way to fill the hole back up. Water each seedling carefully so as not to soak the leaves or stem. Basil can be grown indoors as part of an indoor spice garden.
Direct-seeding into the Garden
Turn over the area you've selected to a depth of approximately 1/2 inches. Rake the area until it's level and smooth. Water the area until the soil is damp but not saturated. Scatter the seeds in the area. Gently rake the area to distribute the seeds further and protect them from birds. Or, press the seeds into the soil and cover with no more than 1/8 inches of soil. You can also place 2 to 3 seeds every 3 to 4 inches in rows approximately 12-18 inches apart, and cover seeds with 1/8 inches of soil. Place planting stakes around the area so you will know where to water. Check on your seeds about once a day. Make sure to mist the soil whenever it appears dry. Germination for the Basil plants is approximately 10 to 15 days, depending on the warmth of the soil. Some gardeners like to plant the Basil in small hills. You can thin out the plants if they get too crowded.
Growing plants from seeds successfully depends on a lot of factors and this makes it impossible to guarantee success on every batch of seeds planted. Factors include, soil composition, PH, temperature, moisture levels, seed depth, soil density, seed viability, seed storage and many others. We tested the germination of all our seeds and this seed variety is around 80%, but your results may vary based on exactly how you plant and all the environmental factors. Good luck.