Posts tagged ‘basil’
Everyone loves some sweet basil in the summer. The first of our garden basil is ready for harvest and is being made into pesto and other delectable treats.
The basil harvest has begun. This harvest warms my heart and kitchen. As the basil grows, a sense of comfort, warmth and strength overwhelm me. It may sound strange to talk about the way one’s plants affect one, but they do affect us in all different ways. Basil nurtures, warms and loves.
Watering is a regular task in the garden, and many gardeners look for ways to make this task easier. In the beach flats garden, most of the parcels are planted in rows or furrows. The furrow is a mound of soil that has been scooped up onto the base of the plants. To water, a gardener places the hose at one end of the row and it runs to the other end and fills up. This allows the water to soak in down by the roots where it is needed. Initially the seeds are sown on flat soil. Once the plants reach sufficient height, the gardener comes with a garden hoe and scoops the soil from between the rows and mounds it up onto the base of the plant. In the process the gardener kills any weeds encountered. This process is repeated several times throughout the season to control weeds. Once the plants get tall enough they will shade the soil and weeds will have a hard time growing.
When I have excess fresh herbs from my garden, I like to dry them and save them for the winter. Harvesting is the first step in the process, much time can be saved by using appropriate techniques. The best time to harvest most herbs is when the herbs have long stems with lots of large developed leaves on them. The longer the stem, generally the easier it is to remove the leaves from the stem once dried. It is important to harvest before the main stem starts growing smaller stems; the extra stems are harder to remove. Remove distressed leaves while harvesting to save work later.
As soon as possible after harvesting, rinse the herbs under running cold water. A quick pre-soak will clean up more dusty herbs very nicely. To be extra green, save the wash water to use for irrigating later. Give your herbs a good shake and then arrange them in a colander, or drying rack with lots of room for air flow. In a few hours when your herbs are completely free of the rinse water, arrange them into bundles and tie them with string or ribbons. As the herbs dry you may have to retie them to keep the bundle together. Hang these bundles in a cool dry dust-free place for a few days or weeks until the leaves are dry and fall off easily.
To remove the leaves, hold the herbs over a large cookie sheet or baking dish with a lip. Grab the stem of the herb with one hand and with the other, pinch the stem and slide your fingers down to the other end. The leaves should fall right off. As you work, pick out any stems that make it into the cookie sheet. When you are finished, put the leaves in a jar and label it. These little herb jars make great gifts.
Here is an easy recipe for pesto (courtesy of my mom).
Photo coming soon!
3 tbs. melted butter
2 cup of fresh basil leaves (washed and dried)
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tsp. salt
2 garlic cloves
2 tbs. pine nuts
Grind up together in a blender or food processor. Don’t overdo it. You can also use a mortar and pestle or a knife and a cutting board.
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
2 tbs. Romano cheese
Enjoy on pasta, toast, sandwiches, salmon, chicken, veggies etc.
Transplanting is a basic gardening skill, that takes little more to master than a loving touch and common sense. A few things will help you in your transplanting.
– Water is very important to plants; make sure to water them as soon as possible after transplanting.
– Dirt is your friend; use some dirt to make a little bowl around your plant so the water soaks in by the roots.
– Roots are fragile and easily disturbed; try not to break up the root ball of your starts when planting.
– Sunlight is food; plant your starts in the morning of a day that is going to be sunny to give them a good first day in the ground.
– Timing is everything, most plants have seasons that they prefer to grow in so make sure you are giving your plant what it wants.
– Some plants prefer direct seeding; try to honor this.
– Plants love to be loved; check on your starts every day for the first few days after transplant.
These photos go with today’s post on basil.