Start basil seeds indoors 8-10 weeks before transplanting, after all danger of frosts have passed, or start your seeds outdoors after this time.
Scatter the seeds across the surface of the soil and gently press the seeds down. Basil seeds can be lightly (no more than 1/4”) covered with soil.
Basil needs to be in a sunny location with well-draining soil, as it is prone to mold/fungus. Keeping basil dry will remove the majority of issues.
Seedlings need to be 4-6” tall to transplant. Basil will get quite large, so thin plants to be about 2 feet apart. Basil leaves are usable almost immediately, but the plant should have at least 5-7 leaves before harvesting.
Never harvest more than 1/3 of the plant at a time. Save basil leaves by freezing them, rather than drying, but it tastes best when fresh.
Once the plant starts to flower, the taste may change, but basil will attract bees and butterflies with the flowers. Basil will also self seed if the flowers are left in place.
Basil usually dies back in winter. It’s better to pull the plant and start fresh in spring, rather than saving the same plant. Multi-year growth causes taste changes that can be unpleasant.