If you are looking at growing basil from seed rather than a seedling, then you want to make sure that you do things in the correct manner from the beginning or else your chances of germination are going to be diminished. Now, we are not talking about this being anything special or difficult to do and even the most inexperienced individual should be able to achieve some form of success especially if you follow these nine steps.
Also, sprouting basil seeds is one of the easier things to do and that is a huge reason as to why so many people believe in doing this especially as you can then stagger their growth extending the season at which you can then use the herb. There is no reason why you need to sow the seeds all at the one time as it is simply a case of repeating these steps whenever required to do so.
Step 1: The Preparation.
The first step is to get yourself prepared and this means getting all of your materials and tools together so that you can be organized. The range of things that you need is rather extensive, but then that is part of the cost of trying to grow something from seed.
In short, the main ‘ingredients’ that you need when it comes to sprouting basil seeds include the following.
Basil Seeds- You have to choose the correct varieties for your own needs.
Starter pots with drainage holes- You need the correct starter pots complete with drainage holes as the water has to flow out as the roots cannot be saturated.
Plastic dome- Place a dome over your seeds to keep the moisture in. If the dome is kept in place, we should not need to water the seeds again until after they sprout.
Seed starting mix
Spray mister(sink sprayer is ok too)- A spray mister is also going to be useful because of how you just need to moisten the soil rather than soak it.
Variable height light source
As you can see, there is a reasonable list of things that you need in order to germinate your seeds.
Step 2: Preparing the Soil.
The next step is to prepare the soil. If you have purchased a seed mix then you need to get it ready to fill the pot. Put some soil in the plastic tub and add some water so that it can just be pressed into your hand and it does not just crumble. If you add too much water then simply add in some extra dry soil until you are just able to press it in your hand.
Now, with this point you need to be aware of how much soil that is going to be required for the pot that you are using. However, there is no point in adding it to a pot and then adding water as that does compress it although it does provide you with a rough idea as to how much you should be looking at using even though it is not an exact science.
Step 3: Filling the Pot.
Next, you have to fill the pot and you should be looking at filling it with the prepared soil and do so to around half an inch to an inch from the top of the pot. This part is important because if you fill it up to the top then when you water the plant it will just flow over and not allow the room for it to grow. Also, when you sow the seeds you have to add more soil to the top so you need that space. This applies no matter the depth of the pot as it is a general rule that has to be applied for reasons that will follow.
Step 4: Plant the Seeds in a Cell.
When planting the seeds, add a few of them to each pot and to do this you simply sprinkle them over the top. The idea behind adding more than one to each pot is to increase your chances of at least some of them germinating. How many you plant is going to depend on the size of the pot or cells that you are using so think carefully about this before you go ahead and start sowing the seeds.
Step 5: Cover the Seeds.
After you have sown the seeds, you then need to cover them with some dry soil and do so to the depth that is recommended on the packet of seeds that you have brought. The depth does vary so you have to check the instructions before you then look at moving onto the next step. However, we are generally talking about a light dusting of dry soil so when you are preparing the soil make sure that you keep some aside for this very purpose.
Step 6: Add some Water to the Soil.
After adding the dry soil to the top of the seeds you have to then think about watering them but then you also need to be careful as to how much water you put on the soil. You are recommended to only use a misting spray as the key is to just make the soil slightly moist rather than soaking it. If you over water the soil then you are going to cause damage to the roots and this has to be avoided. A watering can is going to cause you a problem because it can really give the soil a deluge.
Step 7: Using the Dome.
We mentioned earlier on that you need to have a plastic dome if you are looking at growing basil and this is the point where you have to use it. The idea of the dome is that it is going to add some moisture and humidity and this is something that the seeds really do need in order to encourage them to germinate. Plastic works perfectly well in this situation and you will be amazed at how big a difference it makes. The size of the dome depends on the cells or pots that you are using but there are several options available.
Step 8: Placing the Seeds in the Correct Temperature.
Even though the dome adds moisture and humidity there is still a real need for you to make sure that the seeds are in the correct temperature or else you are going to really struggle for those seeds to make the initial breakthrough. Ideally, you should be looking at it being around 70 degrees although you do need to check on them on a daily basis for the first signs of life. This is something that you really should get correct and it is worth being aware of the temperature in the room where you are planning keeping them or even use a thermometer to make sure that the temperature remains quite constant. By doing so, you will find that your germination levels will be higher than they would have otherwise been.
Step 9: Removing the Dome.
The reason why we mentioned checking it on a daily basis is because you need to remove the dome as soon as you see any signs of life from the seeds. This applies even if there has just been the one single sprout appearing throughout the soil. At this point, the growing process has already started and that is seen as being the hardest part of it all. If you hold onto the dome for longer than is necessary then it will really force the seedlings on too fast and they can become thinner and weaker leading to a poorer quality plant.
As you can see, we are not talking about anything that is too difficult or strenuous for even the individual that is new to this kind of thing. You need to make sure that you have the correct soil mix for seeds and the temperature and moisture levels are just as equally important. If you are concerned about the light then make sure that it is close to a sunny window or use the variable height lights as they can provide more light to further encourage the growth of the seeds.
Basil is not that difficult to grow and indeed a number of people do find it easier to start from seeds rather than young plants especially as it is cheaper to buy a packet of seeds and the other pieces of equipment. It does not take up much time and space in your home and as long as you remember to check on them on a daily basis for those noticeable changes in their growth then things should work out well.