Basil Starts Not Thriving
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: Donna Petzold
Posted on: April 17, 2007

I am a master gardener in Snohomish Co, WA, USA. I am growing 200 Sweet Basil starts for our annual fund raising plant sale. I do this every year and usually do very well. I have a good sized greenhouse and excellent lighting. This year I tried a different method. Instead of planting 1-2 seeds in each 4" pot, I mass planted in 40 pots and when they were about 12 days old, I transplanted them into their own 4" pots. Some did not make (5%). But the rest seem smaller then they should be. I believe transplanting them put them behind schedule. I have to have them a decent size for the sale in 3 wks (5/5/07). Any ideas? What fertilizer would boost them?

The 2007 spring has been very cool in North America and much cloudier than usual. Since basil loves heat and sun, this will have slowed it down even more than the transplanting. A fertilizer high in nitrogen would be a good idea to produce bigger plants. Using a hydroponic fertilizer might be a good idea to make sure none of the essential nutrients are missing. These fertilizers tend to be low in nitrogen, so alternating it with a fish fertilizer or some manure tea might work. If it is feasible try using an agricultural heating pad under the pots.

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