Basil Growing Information Ocimum basilicum Direct Seed: After last frost. Soil temperature for germination is 65-80° F. Transplant: Start in trays 6 weeks before setting out. Ideal temperature for germination is 70° F. Set out after last frost when soil is a minimum of 60° F. Spacing: Sow 1” apart in rows that are 18” apart, at ¼" depth. Plants can be thinned or transplants set out 4-8" apart. Growth needs: Keep soil moist with regular irrigation to avoid heat stress. Sensitive to cold and high heat. Harvest: Can be harvested lightly once leaves are of desired size and heavily once stems are stronger. Pinch tops to encourage branching and discourage flowering. Can pinch buds or cut whole stems. Basil wilts quickly, so it is best to harvest early in the morning. Storage: Store short-term at above 50° F.