Have you noticed how expensive basil is in the grocery store? Growing my own basil, like other herbs, is one of the most cost-saving inclusions in my garden. Even if you buy the basil starts at your garden supply store in the spring and grow it in your garden, you’re saving money. But why stop there when harvesting and saving basil seed is so easy?
In the two minutes it took to make this video for you, I harvested 5 basil seeds. Of course, I harvest more than that but you can see how simple it is! Click the video to see the simple steps.
All it takes is a little planning ahead of time. Each summer I choose one basil plant to harvest and one to let develop flower stalks and go to seed. In this video I explained how to cut back the flower stalks to ensure a continuous supply of fresh basil all season.
But when you let the basil go to flower, the plant gets to bear beautiful, bee-attracting flowers before getting brown and scraggly. And it when it gets to that point, the seeds are ready to harvest!
As I mentioned in the first video, once the seeds are harvested, you have 3 options:
- Plant the seeds directly in the ground after your last spring frost has passed. Basil grows quickly and easily in the sun-warmed spring soil. Simply scatter the seeds and watch them emerge a few weeks later. I always plant basil around my tomatoes and anywhere bees are needed for pollination.
- Start the seeds indoors about 6 weeks before your last spring frost. These seeds take longer to sprout, and frankly I have less luck with them. I’ve found that a seedling heat mat helps; basil is particular with needing warm soil. Once your baby basil plant has a few real leaves, and the spring weather has moderated to warmth (a couple of weeks past the last spring frost), it can be transplanted to the garden.
- Don’t save the seeds at all. Instead, simply scatter the seeds on the ground wherever you’d like basil volunteers to sprout next year. If you know where your tomatoes will go, that’s an ideal spot. I always have volunteer basil plants throughout my garden.
Using these simple steps, you’ll be on your way to never buying basil again!
Do you save your basil seeds?