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Old 05-16-2017, 12:00 PM
 
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Second year now growing herbs and looking to improve as much as I can. Right now I have 5-10 basil plants in each pot (ranging from 6-8" pots) and I'm thinking I need to thin down to only one pot per plant. Still not well versed with best practices and thinning plants especially kills my soul. I WANT THEM ALL TO LIVE! I grew basil similar last year (as seen in the attached picture), and I felt I got a good yield but the plants definitely did seem stunted and only grew to about 12" and remained fairly stalky. I've seen basil can (and should) grow much taller and bushier, so do I need to reduce to one basil per pot? What is the best way to remove the extras? Cut the stem at ground level? Rip out gently? Maybe transplant if I can get the roots out gently?


Thanks for the advice!


(growing most of these in a semi-indoor porch, might throw some in the vegetable garden if I can transplant them)
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How many Basil per Pot?-20170516_073425_herbs.jpg  
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Old 05-16-2017, 01:56 PM
 
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You'd have better luck with bigger pots, one plant per pot and lots of fertilizer. I use Osmocote and similar. Also pinch back when small. I get 18-24 inch plants that way.
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Old 05-16-2017, 08:07 PM
 
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Yes, you have to thin them. I'm like you, I hate killing off seedlings. But if you don't, it will be too crowded in those pots and you'll get spindly plants that are competing for sunlight, water and nutrients. They look small enough that you can just pull them out now. The good news is you can dry the leaves -- looks like most hae their true leaves already -- and that way, the sacrificial basil will at least be tasty and not go to waste. Also, basil loves sun. Not sure how much sun that porch gets, so just FYI.

I always let one basil plant go to flower because the bees are bonkers for basil flowers.
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Old 05-17-2017, 03:24 AM
 
Location: Moku Nui, Hawaii
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If you have an area outside, you could use a spoon or something to scoop out all but the biggest plant in each pot and plant them outside where they'd have more room to grow. If you're going to transplant them, a scoop where most of the roots are taken with the soil around them will keep the plants happier during the process. Put them in their new home and water and then keep them moist for the first week or so until they get happy again.

Maybe next time, only one to three seeds per pot would save having to thin them out later?
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Old 05-17-2017, 10:37 AM
 
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Thinning does not have to equal killing plants. You can just spread them out into more pots! Another option is to plant exactly the number of seeds you want to have grow into plants. Then there's no thinning at all.
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