Initial planting

Bought a cheap 8 inch pot and filled it with miracle grow indoor potting soil to about 0.5 inches from the top. Sprinkled sweet basil seeds around, then covered with a quarter inch of soil. Watered it with a large glass of water and it compacted down a bit so the top of the soil is now about 1’’ from the top (maybe should have watered soil first?). Sitting in the sun now, here we go!

Basil Recipe


Last Frost in Newton: May 24

First Frost in Newton: September 19

(10% chance of frost falling outside these dates)



  • Sun: 6-8 hours
  • Soil: Well-drained
  • Start 6 weeks before last frost (~April 10)
  • After final frost of the season, or start it inside?
  • Start off in large bucket, sprinkle seed packet.
    • Need to look up details on how to do that.
  • Once sprouted and 1’’ tall, thin them out to give each 2’’ of space
    • Thin by cutting, not pulling, to keep roots of neighbors intact.
  • Once 3’’ tall with first set of true leaves, transplant to separate pots. 6-8’’ of space per plant.
  • When plant has 3-5 sets of leaves, cut the top off just above the 2nd set of leaves from the ground.
  • Every 3 weeks or so, cut off above the first or second set of leaves on each new branch.

End of 2016 season

Here are pictures from the 2016 season. Both indoor and outdoor plants were giving high yields every 3 weeks or so. The outdoor planter used regular potting soil, so became a little too dense and compacted and wet. you can see this in the yellowing of many of the leaves. The key is to mix perlite in to get a dryer, better-draining soil. The pot is also over planted, which eventually led to downy mildew which killed off the plants fairly rapidly. Still, it’s an impressive wall of basil, grabbing every bit of that 4 or so hours of morning sunshine.

The indoor basil were also over planted in thick, wet soil, but to a lesser degree on all accounts. They thrived until they met a rapid death to downy mildew.

The total bounty was plenty for pesto.