Genovese Basil Guide

Named after the Greek word for King, this mint family giant comes from a Northwestern region in Italy, Genoa. These darker green leaves marry nicely with any of your favorite tomato dishes. The mild yet sweet flavor is best when added to your dish near the end of the cooking process or as a garnish. Blend together with Parmigiano Reggiano, Romano cheese, fresh garlic, olive oil and salt to coat your pasta in pesto fit for a Roman Emperor. Don’t forget to add a little pasta water to keep the sauce loose and delicious.

TO SOW

Basil grows best in warmer weather between 65°F-90°F. They do great in containers and small gardens. Bank on Seeds recommends direct seeding.

If Direct Seeding

  • Direct seed outside 4-6 weeks after last frost date; or
  • Direct seed into a container 8-12 inches deep and wide anytime of the year. It can be placed outside when the temperature is between 65°F-90°F; or

If Transplanting

Begin the growing season early and start the basil seeds indoors in trays or pods one week before the last frost date; germination is best between 70°F-80°F. It can be transplanted outside 5 weeks later.

Sow seeds ¼ inch deep and 10-12 inches apart with rows spaced 18-24 inches apart. Germination will take 8-14 days. Thin the seedlings to 10 inches apart if they start competing for space or light.

TO GROW

Genovese basil likes well-drained, moist soil. They also love full sun and partial shade with regular watering especially if grown in a container. When weather gets hotter, water more often and do not let the basil dry out or sit overnight with dry roots.

Option to add aged compost onto the top layer of soil or mix into the soil for continued nutrition for the plants. 10-10-10 fertilizer can be applied every 6-8 weeks but is not necessary if composted well.

TO REAP

Basil is full grown (mature) in 35-40 days. Start picking fresh leaves as needed when the plant reaches 8 inches in height. Basil responds greatly to pruning so every stem you snip off, two more buds will grow in its place. Genovese basil is slow bolting and will continue to produce for a long harvest.

PESTS/DISEASES

Aphids, slugs, Japanese beetles – neem oil, floating row covers, insecticide

Root rot – ensure soil is well draining or the container has good drainage holes that are not blocked

*Plant basil with asparagus, borage, chamomile, marigold, peppers, and tomatoes. Avoid planting with or near sage, cucumbers, and fennel. *