Basil is a full sun, heat loving crop. It will become bitter if it is allowed to bolt (flower) or if exposed to temps below 50°. Start seeds indoors April 10th - May 1st at a temp of 75° (use heating mat). Days to germination: 5-14. Do not let plants become potbound (too big for their pots) because this will stunt plants. Transplant outside, 10” apart, after nighttime temps are above 50°. Alternatively, sow seeds directly outside early June. Prune young plants to encourage side branching. For an extended harvest, consider starting a 2nd planting May 15th.
Clip stems (with leaves attached) back several inches – do not clip off more than 1/2 of the plant at one time. Frequently clip (harvest) plants to keep them from bolting. Leaves are removed from stems in the kitchen.
Basil seeds need a long, hot growing season so it is somewhat difficult to save seeds here in Southeast MI. Seeds should be left on the plant until they are mature (black). Cut and dry stems in paper bags. Basil plants are insect pollinated and may cross pollinate with other basil varieties. Isolation distance: 150’ should be adequate. Clean seed as a dry seeded crop.