Krishna Tulsi (Holy Basil)
Seed Count: Approx. 100 Seeds
Days to Maturity: 65 Days
Description: Krishna Tulsi, also known as Holy basil, is an herbaceous member of the mint family that is originally native to India. This cute plant boasts purple stems, dark green to magenta leaves, purple flowers, and a strong scent. Krishna Tulsi grows 12-24 inches tall, with lots of hairy branches. It has a peppery taste, and is usually used to make tea that's very aromatic and flavorful. I personally like to use this basil variety to surround my pepper and tomato plants, since its strong scent keeps the tomato horn worms from finding them. Krishna Tulsi lives year long in my garden, and only dies when it gets hit with several days of cold (30-40 degree) weather. It grows best in zones 9-12, plus it can easily be grown as a potted plant, and brought indoors during cold weather.
How To Grow
Sowing: Since basil loves warm weather, it grows best when the soil has warmed and there is no chance of frost. In cool climates, start seeds indoors 3-4 weeks before the last frost, sowing them thinly and providing heat to speed up the germination. Transplant 15-18" apart. To direct sow, plant the seeds 1/4" deep, in rich soil and full sun, thinning to 15-18" apart when the seedlings develop. Basil also grows well indoors or as a container plant.
Growing: Basil needs well draining soil, yet needs to be watered often. If the weather drops below 50 degrees, provide protection. As the plant grows, pruning it helps it to develop into a bushy, healthy plant; pruning is also important because once the plant flowers, it will begin to wilt and die. To prune the plant, remove the top several sets of leaves on each stem, taking care to leave at least three sets of leaves on the lower part. Try planting basil with tomatoes. It will help deter tomato hornworms by masking the tomato plants’ smell.
Harvesting: Basil can be harvested as soon as it reaches a height of 6-8". The best time to harvest the leaves are in the morning after the dew dries. After the plant is established, harvesting often actually improves production; once the flowers develop, the leaves grow bitter in taste. Remove single leaves or parts of a stem as needed, taking care to leave at least three sets of leaves on the length of the stem for healthy growth. Fresh basil will keep for several days at room temperature, with the stems in a glass of water; if refrigerated, it tends to wilt and turn brown. Basil also freezes and dries well. Dry by using a dehydrator, an oven, or by hanging and drying in a dry, warm location.