When all danger of frost is past, transfer plants outside in a sunny location, spacing 12-18″ apart, in rows 12-18″ apart in moderate, loose, medium moisture, well-drained soil. Sensitive to frost. Prefers a warm, sunny location although will tolerate some light afternoon shade. A good choice for a patio container. Plant height 14-18″.
For best results, consistent and regular moisture throughout the growing season is required. Pinch out growing tips to encourage bushy growth. White blossoms attract bees and butterflies to the garden.
Basil, Lettuce leaf ocimum basilicum var.
Lettuce Leaf Basil has the look of green, wrinkly lettuce but packs a bigger punch. The spicy flavor is typical of basils and tastes great with fresh tomatoes, in salads (your guests will be surprised by the rich flavor of what looks like an innocent salad leaf!), and in any sort of Oriental, Greek, or Italian dishes. It also adds a nice texture to an ornamental or kitchen garden. Pinch back flowers to make a fuller plant. The white flowers make a lovely addition in bouquets. Lettuce Leaf is one of the best basil varieties for freezing.
Basil is an easy herb to grow as long as you observe several important rules:
Don’t plant it too early in the spring.
Wait until the night temperatures consistently stay above 50 degrees F. It will tolerate lower temperatures, but it will not thrive and can have real trouble bouncing back from an extended cool period.
If you notice dark spots forming on the leaves, it may be caused by cold water from the hose. Try watering in the cool of the day to remedy this problem.
A light harvesting of leaves may begin after plants have become established. It is best done in the early morning when the temperature is cooler, and the leaves are less likely to wilt. Full harvest should be done just before plants start to flower. Cut the entire plant 4″-6″ above the ground to promote a second growth. Leaves are easily bruised when picking, so handle with care. Store Basil above 50 degrees F. after harvest. If exposed to temperatures lower than 50 degrees F, basil can suffer from cold damage. Use a separate cooler space for cut basil, where you can control the temperature, or store in a cool, dark place.
If properly cleaned, basil seed can be stored successfully. First allow seed heads to dry on plant, then remove and collect the seeds. Store in a container in a cool, dry place.