Six experiments were conducted on ‘Genovese’ basil (Ocimum basilicum L.) in Oklahoma to study the feasibility of establishing basil in the field by direct seeding. Variables examined included use of raw seed or pelleted seed, seeding depth, seeding rate, and comparison with transplanting. Direct seeding was done using a hand-pushed planter (first four experiments), a tractor-drawn planter (fifth experiment), or both types of planter (sixth experiment). Plants were destructively harvested by machine. Stands were established successfully using transplants or using raw or pelleted seed with a hand-pushed planter.
The lowest cumulative yields in the sixth experiment came from plants established using pelleted seed with the tractor-drawn planter. Thus, direct seeding of basil was successful only with a hand-pushed planter. While direct seeding is a potentially viable alternative to transplanting for basil stand establishment, there is a need to identify a tractor-drawn seeder that can plant basil at the required shallow depth.