Basil is one of several herbs being studied for production as an extraction processing crop in Oklahoma. Mechanical harvest and high yields will be necessary to produce the volume of fresh product needed to profitably run an extraction facility.
Basil is grown primarily from transplants (Nurzyńska-Wierdak, 2002), but the crop can be established by direct seeding (Davis, 1997; Simon, 1995). Producers are interested in direct seeding for basil stand establishment as a possible method to obtain a high volume of product at a lower production cost than might result from the use of transplants. However, direct seeding of basil is considered to be more prone to failure than transplanting due to adverse factors such as climatic variables and soil crusting (Davis, 1997; Nurzyńska-Wierdak, 2002; Sørensen and Henriksen, 1992). We found little evidence of successful direct seeding of basil in the literature. Nurzyńska-Wierdak (2002) and Sørensen and Henriksen (1992) conducted field research on seeded basil, but plots were small and the method of seeding was unspecified. Schader et al. (2005) sowed basil seeds in rows as an intercrop with sea island cotton (Gossypium barbadense L.) using broadcasting by hand. Our objective was to study the feasibility of establishing basil in the field by direct seeding. We examined factors including use of raw seed or pelleted seed, seeding depth, seeding rate, and comparison with transplanting.
Davis, J.M. 1997 Basil. Coop. Ext. Serv., North Carolina State Univ., Raleigh. HIL-125. 1 Oct. 2014. <http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/hil/hil-125.html>
Kahn, B.A. & Maness, N.O. 2010 Row arrangements, seeding rates, and gibberellic acid treatments to improve yield of machine-harvested cilantro HortScience 45 1049 1051
Nurzyńska-Wierdak, R. 2002 Evaluation of growth and yield of two forms of sweet basil grown from seeds and transplants Folia Hort. 14 169 175
Schader, C., Zaller, J.G. & Köpke, U. 2005 Cotton-basil intercropping: Effects on pests, yields and economical parameters in an organic field in Fayoum, Egypt Biol. Agr. Hort. 23 59 72
Simon, J.E. 1995 Basil. New crop fact sheet. Purdue Univ., West Lafayette, IN. 1 Oct. 2014. <http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/cropfactsheets/basil.html>
Sørensen, L. & Henriksen, K. 1992 Effects of seed rate, plastic covering, and harvest time on yield and quality of Danish grown basil (Ocimum basilicum L.) Tidsskr. Planteavl 96 499 506