Genovese basil is the quintessential variety for making a great, traditional, authentic pesto, but it's also a great variety for adding to pizza and pasta sauces. Basil in general also makes an excellent companion plant for tomatoes as the scent of its leaves help to repel tomato grub.
When To Sow
For best results sow basil seed from September through to December in the temperate and colder regions of Australia. In the subtropics sow from August to December. Growers in tropical regions and subtropical areas which receive no frost can grow basil all year around.
How To Sow
Sow a few basil seeds at a time, 6mm deep and spaced about 20cm apart and thin to the healthiest plants once the seedlings have their first true leaves. Basil grows well both in full sun as well as in areas that receives shade for part of the day.
Time To Germination
Expect most of your basil seeds to germinate between 7 to 10 days after sowing.
Time To Harvest
Basil plants can be harvested between 10 and 12 weeks after sowing, or sooner if plants are growing quickly. Pinch out the growing tips to use as required, a couple of pairs of leaves at a time from each plant, this will encourage the rest of the basil plant to send out additional side shoots and become bushier.
A healthy row of organic, ready-to-use genovese basil plants growing in one of the narrow beds that boarder my property, I'll pinch out the tops of these to use in pasta sauces or on pizzas as needed and allow the plants to continue to produce and become bushier. You can see also see behind them a new row of younger seedlings which will be used once the older plants are spent. The shape of the margins of the leaves of genovese basil tend to become less jagged and more round as the plants age.