Ocimum Basilicum (Genovese Basil) Seeds

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Description

Basil is one of the most popular culinary and garden herbs and is used fresh, frozen or dried in a variety of international cuisines. This member of the mint family is native to India where it has been valued in Ayurvedic medicine. Basil is used to treat nausea, bad breath and gum pain.  Basil also deters insects, and the seeds are said to cure warts. In North America, basil is grown as an annual, although it will act as a perennial in tropical climates. Basil leaves are best when harvested in July before the plant flowers, although they can be harvested throughout the growing season. Pinching the tops of the plants will cause fuller plants and prevent flowering. Basil can be grown indoors all year round under artificial lights.  It usually enjoys a lot of light, so window light is only recommended if you have a very bright window. Plants will reach up to about 2 feet in height. Genovese basil is a classic Italian basil variety.  

Growing Information: Sow outside in the spring 1 to 2 weeks following the last frost.  Using a rich well-draining soil, place the seeds just below the surface.  Basil seeds may also be started in pots indoors and transplanted outside in full sun after 6-8 weeks or kept under lights. all year round.  Space your basil plants about 8 inches apart.  Always be sure to pinch the tops before the plants go to flower because that can result in very strong flavor as the oils int he plant build up. Planting new crops about once a month is recommended for a continued supply of the best quality of fresh leaf.  This will result in the best quality fresh herb because the essential oil will never have a chance to build up.  This may not be a problem for dried basil, but more discerning chefs will want to use fresh leaf when the plant is still young.

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