Starting Basil with the Help of a Plant Heat Pad

A plant heat pad is an electric-powered device used to start seedlings indoors.  It is a mat that is warmed by coils inside.  A plant heat pad is particularly helpful to have when you want to grow Basil seedlings.

Basil is a tender, annual herb.  Gardeners use the word  “tender” to mean that they are describing a plant that is sensitive to frost.  Basil requires warmth so much that a Basil seedling cannot be planted in early spring.  Basil can only be planted when the soil is a least 60° F.  Some gardeners would say that the soil must be even warmer than that.

Basil is a tender, annual herb

Basil, a tender, annual herb

Given Basil’s affinity for heat, the Basil seed germinates readily when it has the bottom heat that is provided by a plant heat pad.

Cold climate gardeners who grow plants from seed can extend their short growing season by sowing Basil seeds inside.  With the help of a plant heat pad, germination and some growth can thereby occur even in places where spring arrives very late.

If you are starting several herbs or plants indoors, you should sow your Basil seeds last.  The seeds germinate quickly and they are probably the last of the seedlings that you will plant.  Therefore, you should first sow plant or herb seeds that take longer to germinate and/or plant or herb seeds whose seedlings can be planted in early (cooler) spring soil.
 
Basil is a very popular culinary herb and a “must have” if you like tomato sauce, pasta with pesto or salads with an Italian flair. 

A plant heat mat will help you grow your own Basil.  Please visit the garden department of North Country Herbs to see the plant heat pads that we offer and other handy gardener’s tools.