Basil (Ocimum basilicum, and others )
Market Products: (leaf, herb); (herb); (oil); Market size: 10,000 hectares (world), 1,000 ha (North America) Prospects: prices stable, volume up
Culture Seed density: 500-1000 (O. gratissimum 2600, O. kilamandscharicum 2800, O. sanctum 1500-2500) seeds/gram Exposure: full sun Soil: rich, well-drained Crop duration: 1 year (O. basilicum), 1-3 years (others)
Sowing rate: 20kg/ha (direct); 3-4kg/ha (indirect). Planting: sow direct in spring when nighttime temperatures exceed 10°C; or sow in flats or plugs 8 weeks before field planting. Field spacing: 30-90cm between rows x 15-25cm within rows. Yield: fresh herb 15,000kg/ha, dry herb 1,500-2,000kg/ha, oil 30kg/ha (year 1) Pests: aphids, thrips Diseases: O. basilicum varieties are highly susceptible to fusarium wilt (Fusarium oxysporum) disease. Disease persists in soil for several years. Commercial field plantings should be sown with fusarium-tolerant Nufar F1. Hydroponic operations may choose fusarium-free varieties if equipment and facilities are free of fusarium (spreads by contaminated seeds and equipment). Other basil species (e.g. O. americanum and O. gratissimum) are fusarium-tolerant. Buyers want: not less than 0.4% essential oil in dried product.
Sowing rate: 3-4g/1000plants. Planting: sow direct in final pots, or in plugs and later transplant to final pots. Nighttime temperature must not go below 10°C. Seeds to finished plugs: 8 weeks. Plugs to saleable plants: 5 weeks. Pests: whitefly, thrips, aphids Diseases: fusarium (see above).