Starting basil seeds over winter is easy and economical. Growing basil from seed gives you more plants for less money. In fact, these tips can be used to start just about any herb garden seeds.
When you plant your basil seed, it is best to use moist soil. Plant the seeds in a trench that is an eighth of an inch deep and cover with soil. If you are planting your seeds in the ground or in a large indoor planting bed, thin the seedlings to 1 foot apart when they appear.
You can purchase a seedling container or you can create your own by filling a shallow plastic, cardboard or wooden box with planting soil. Your container should be at least 2 inches deep and approximately 12 to 18 inches long. You could even visit your local garden center and ask if they have any extra plastic pots or trays that they might be willing to give you.
An easy way to begin growing basil from seed indoors is to use small paper cups or egg cartons. Place 2 to 3 seeds in each container to be sure at least one takes. When the seedlings begin to sprout, thin them to one seedling per container.
Immediately after planting, cover the containers with clear plastic to prevent moisture loss. When germination occurs, after about 3 days, loosen the plastic for ventilation. Without proper ventilation the seedlings could develop fungal disease. Remove the plastic when the seedling leaves have completely opened.
Regardless of which method you use to start your seeds, the seedlings can be transplanted to two inch pots approximately seven days after they first appear. They can continue to grow in these pots until you are ready to move them to their permanent home.
Be sure to water your seedlings only when the soil is dry to the touch. Be careful not to over water. Place your seedlings in an area where they can receive sunlight, but not too close to a window if the glass is cold from the outside winter air.