Friday, September 17, 2010

A Bounty of Basil

The weather turned cool and wet at the end of August, with very few days dry enough to do anything in the garden. We were able to get some herbs dried though we had to use the dehydrator because of the humidity in the house. We took in the occasional tomato or squash but for the most part the garden has been ignored for the last few weeks.

Today the sun was shining so I decided to hit the garden. Several pounds of tomatoes, squash, and cucumbers later I finally got to the herb garden. Most of the herbs I planted are perennials and will come back year after year, as long as the soil conditions are good and the weather is right.

Basil is one of the few annuals I plant each year. I've tried it in various places and even tried different varieties. With few exceptions I get so so growth and lots of bug damage. This year the only Basil I planted was a single plant in a small decorative planter I caught on sale when I purchased the rest of my starts. I planted it in the herb bed and didn't give it much thought, expecting it to do like the previous years and just sit there.

I couldn't have been more wrong. The single basil plant was well over three feet tall and covered with the largest leaves I've ever seen. I don't know if it was the soil or the plant itself but I have a huge bounty of basil this year. I cut all of the basil back, the main stem was well over 1/2 inch thick, and picked off all the leaves. There were so many that I filled my dehydrator well passed capacity.

The basil leaves are now drying in the computer room. The whole house smells like basil. Dreams of pastas and pestos are running around in my head. I can't wait to fill the dryer up with rosemary, sage, and other herbs later this weekend.

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