Planting basil indoors can be done any time of year.
It is an annual plant which means it grows, flowers, seeds and dies in the same year.
You can start harvesting when a plant is around three months old, so if you sow a pot every month or so, you will always have a plant to cut at.
Use a good potting compost and fill a 4 inch (10 cm) pot to the brim.
Tap it down well, then put it into a bowl of water until the bubbles stop rising.
Set aside to drain for about 30 minutes or so.
You could leave it for longer if you like, that will enable the soil to warm up.
Once you see the first seedlings come through, remove the lid and place in a well lit place.
Use a plant spray and keep the seedlings moist but not waterlogged.
I like to use a Cheshunt Compound in the water for the first few weeks as this helps prevent damping off a fungal disease which attacks seedlings and makes them keel over and die.
You will only need a few seeds out of the several hundred you have in your packet. Keep them dry, just tip a few out and leave the rest in the foil packet. You can store the surplus seeds in a poly box in the refrigerator. They will keep for years if you don't leave them out in the warmth. You can test them for viability by popping a few on a piece of damp kitchen roll prior to planting and seeing if they germinate. If you get a reasonable strike rate - say more than 50%, then you can use the seeds, just sow a few more than normal, so you have enough for planting basil.
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By Liz Alderson
Step by step guide to sowing basil seeds. Easy to grow indoors.