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First time grow - Basil - When to transplant?

Chicago, IL

First time grower trying to grow Basil near my window. I germinated the seeds in a burpee starter kit and they are starting to grow! My first question is when should I transplant to bigger pots? Also what size pot should I transplant to? I want to make this is easy as possible and only want to transplant once. I'm doing the entire grow in my window.

I have attached a pic after day 7 of my plants. I realize that each pod has more then 1 seed sprouting, should I pull out the weakest seeds?

Also any more info on my plant would be great.

Thumbnail by vj2651
Ossian, IN(Zone 5a)

You may not need to transplant the basil seedlings. If you thin them to roughly one plant per pot, they will do just fine. However, since you have many healthy plants, it would be wise to transplant them each to individual pots. It's really up to you. You shouldn't transplant them outside until they have at least their second set of "true" leaves. Your plants only have the cotyledon leaves, or baby leaves. Let them get a little bit bigger before setting them out in the garden.
Happy Gardening!
Ella

Prairieville, LA(Zone 9a)

yes, you need to wait until the plants develop their first set of true leaves...and are about 3 inches tall. Here is a link with some info on growing and using basil

http://www.ourherbgarden.com/basil.html

Chicago, IL

Thanks for the quick replies!

1997 - what do you mean by thinning the plants? I'm assuming you mean just put 1 seedling in a pot? Will I be able to easily separate the seedlings that are growing in the same pods? Right now each pod has about 4 seedlings that are 1+ inches.

themoonhowl - Thanks for the link. I'm trying to figure out the proper pot size for transplant after they have grown 3 inches? Any info on this? Searching online is giving me a variety of answers but the most common seems to be 6 inch pot but some sites also say when in doubt choose a larger pot. Also all the growing is going to be done indoors with natural sunlight.

Thanks again.



This message was edited May 17, 2011 11:42 AM

Prairieville, LA(Zone 9a)

Unless you want to pot them up again after transplanting, I would use an 8 inch pot. depending on the variety, they do get bushy.

You can divide what you have into 1 plant per 4 inch pot and then when growing well and established move each plant to a 6 to 8 inch pot or a couple plants per 10-12 inch pot.

Chicago, IL

Thanks! I'm just going to go with an 8 inch pot once the seedlings grow 3 inches and get a set of true leaves.

Should I just pull the weakest/shortest seedlings from each pod right away (as in today) or should I wait some time to see which one is the strongest? The seeds are growing so close together I don't want to ruin all of them because they are fighting.

Prairieville, LA(Zone 9a)

Pick your best looking strongest seedling in each pot and remove the others gently...you can just snip the stem at ground level if it looks like it is gonna do damage to the strong one.

Chicago, IL

Themoonhowl,

I ended up sniping the shortest ones right at the soil. Out of curiosity if I was to re-plant the snipped ones would they regrow roots?

Thanks

Troy, NY(Zone 5b)

I grow basil and all my annual herbs in large pots. I just sprinkle the seeds in the pot each spring and mist daily until the seedlings have true leaves. You don't have to start it first if you don't want to.

Prairieville, LA(Zone 9a)

No, the snipped stems won't reroot. They don't have any reserves in order to do so. Just remember that basil likes lots of sun...if your plants start "stretching" towards the light source, they need more light.

Chicago, IL

Themoonhowl,

How can I tell if the plant is stretching? The weather in Chicago has been cloudy the past few days and the plants have not gotten much light. I also noticed that they haven't grown much since the last picture which was day 6. I have attached a new pic of the plants at day 10.

Should I add some sort of light to make sure they are getting enough? The soil looks moist so I haven't been giving them much water. Should I wait until the soil is dryer to give it water?

Thanks for all the help.

Thumbnail by vj2651
Prairieville, LA(Zone 9a)

You are welcome VJ. Hope it is useful to you.

Keep the soil evenly moist but not wet. If it feels moist on the surface, it is probably okay. You can tell if they are 'stretching' if the stems get long and thin, leans toward a light source and there is more distance between groups of leaves. That is what is called "leggy growth" It never hurts to give full sun plants extra light inside. Even a table lamp with a full spectrum "grow light" bulb would be beneficial.

If you can get them outside on a balcony, fire escape, open window that gets good sun or under a skylight that would make them happy.

Chicago, IL

Finally got some good sun in Chicago! The plants seem to be doing better. One of them is starting to grow a set of leaves in between the first set of leaves.

I have a feeling they are getting "leggy". Will post a new pic after the weekend.

Thanks again for all the info.

Prairieville, LA(Zone 9a)

You are very welcome. Hope they grow and thrive for you.

Chicago, IL

After 14 days I'm getting the feeling the plants are not growing like they should be. If you compare pictures from day 7 (first pic in post) to todays pic at day 14 they look almost identical. Does it usually take a while for Basil to develop its first set of leaves?

Light is definitely a problem for me. I put a florescent tube light on top the past few days but I'm not sure if its helping. Its a low wattage, under the kitchen cabinet light.

Thanks in advance for any info

Thumbnail by vj2651
Chicago, IL

Here is a side shot...

Thumbnail by vj2651
Prairieville, LA(Zone 9a)

They are starting to add the second pair of leaves....they just really need a lot of light. Could they possibly outside during the day? You can get special standard looking light bulbs called GROW LIGHTS for a few dollars and they fit a regular lamp. They provide a full spectrum light wave.

Chicago, IL

Will look into the grow light bulbs. Is there anything you can recommend for someone on a budget?

Thanks again for all the help themoonhowl, I owe you at least 1 basil plant.

St. Louis County, MO(Zone 5a)

I use a very basic small florescent light, about $10. It is sold as an under the counter light, about 18 inches long. You really don't have to have special bulbs. I take the cover off to let as much light get to the plants.

Prairieville, LA(Zone 9a)

I'm sorry, I thought VJ was already using fluorescent and the plants were still stretching and getting leggy. The grow bulb is only $4-5....hence the suggestion...

Make a pretty tasty pesto VJ and share....grin that will work.

Chicago, IL

Hello Cathy,

I believe I am using a similar light that you mentioned but I don't believe it is working. I'm going to give the florescent another week before buying a grow bulb. How big are your plants after 2 weeks on average?

Made a basil pesto pizza today from store bought basil. Once the plants grow I'll ship you one.

Thumbnail by vj2651
Burien, WA(Zone 7b)

Not sure it was mentioned, be sure the light is quite close to the top of the seedlings.

Prairieville, LA(Zone 9a)

The pizza looks yummy. Grin

St. Louis County, MO(Zone 5a)

VJ, I get nice, stocky plants with the light I'm using. I keep it close to the tops of the plants as they grow.

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