Category Archives: Basil

GARDENING FOR GOOD

This summer I’ve been dividing my gardening days

Between two gardens.

It’s the first summer that Faith Farm

Has been an all volunteer effort.

It was a leap of faith.

What a fun

And rewarding leap.

We started the season with a plan

Put together by my fellow gardeners

Jim & Michael.

It’s an ambitious three season plan

Since we have a 9 month growing season.

We started harvesting lettuce

In March.

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And we haven’t stopped.

200 lbs of lettuce

120 lbs of gorgeous carrots

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More basil than all of Italy

and almost 900 lbs of cucumbers.

Wow what a year.

We have literally grown well over a ton of vegetables.

All of this done by a dedicated group

Of volunteers.

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Including a few Master Gardeners.

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Twice a week they harvest this bounty

And take it to Loaves & Fishes

Where it is then given

To our hungry neighbors.

Several times a year

Jim offers  gardening classes

To the L & F clients.

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And every so often

We have a Saturday work day

To catch up on the big jobs.

Yesterday was one of those work days.

We had an ambitious list

OK…we had an impossible list.

Thanks to a few new volunteers

We got most of the big jobs done.

Morning glories pulled off the fence

Before they set seed.

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Bolted basil pulled, dried and ground into mulch.

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Ground pecan hulls put on the paths.

And soil added to beds.

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Then there was the shed.

Michael spent the morning organizing it.

Thank goodness.

These are not glamorous gardening jobs

But they are essential.

And feel good to have done.

Along the way we made a few new friends

Loaves & Fishes board member Randi

Brought her family.

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Including her son

Who got to meet Charlotte

Our resident Orb Spinner Spider

She’s been “hanging” around

Since July.

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He also found caterpillars and praying mantis.

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It’s always a good day when you can introduce

A child to the wonders of nature.

And do a little

Gardening for Good.

Gail

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Basil, Bugs, Carrots, Children in the Garden, Community Garden, Compost, Cucumbers, Fall Vegetables, Garden Planning, Gardening Friends, Herbs, late summer garden, Lettuce, Morning Glories, Nature, Orb Spider, Uncategorized, Vegetables

THE BASIL RITUAL

There’s a rhythm about fall that seems to be well, common.

At least among my friends.

With our first freeze predicted for Halloween

I began cutting basil on Thursday

And again on Friday.

Buckets of basil.

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I always plant too much

Which means I have basil to spare

For months on end.

I use it during the growing season.

But by October it’s giant and going to seed everywhere.

Yet I feel that none of it can go to waste.

I either have to dry it

Or make pesto

Or find it a home.

Pesto is my first plan of attack.

So on Friday

When the weather men were issuing their threatening forecast.

My sister Ann called and said.

“So I’m guessing you’re making pesto.”

And I was.

She’s in the same place I am.

With way too much basil.

But she has the advantage of being able to feed her extra.

To her bunnies.

I on the other hand

Do not have hungry bunnies living at my house.

So when a friend dropped by with  a cape for Coco to wear for Halloween.

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She was rewarded with bonus basil.

Others who dropped by were also given the chance

But most declined.

I thought of bagging it up in little bags and giving it out

To the 400+ kids who came trick or treating.

But there might be potential for misunderstanding there!

I’ve now made 3 batches of regular pesto

3 C. packed fresh basil leaves

1/3 C. grated parmesan cheese

6 cloves chopped garlic

6 T toasted Pine nuts

4 T olive oil

Put all ingredients into food processor.

Pulse till well chopped but not a puree.

Spray ice-cube tray with non-stick cooking spray.

Freeze.  Then store cubes in plastic bag.

It’s about a tablespoon or 2 of pesto.

And a couple of roasted red pepper and sun-dried tomato pesto.

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3 medium red bell peppers 0r 1 jar .

12 sun-dried tomatoes – soaked and drained

1 clove garlic chopped

3 T roasted pine nuts.

a handful of fresh basil leaves.

A handful of fresh Italian parsley

Juice of 1 lemon

2 T grated parmesan cheese.

Prepare like basil pesto

I’ve also been roasting and freezing the last of the ripe tomatoes.

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All of which is giving our house

A rather Italian aroma.

Now…what to do with all those

Peppers and green tomatoes.

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And in the end

It didn’t even freeze!

Gail

The other fall ritual I love

Is sharing plants with friends

Kay and Tori came by on Saturday morning.

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To dig the last of the ferns.

New plans for this area

Come spring.

 

 

 

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Filed under Basil, Fall Vegetables, Gardening Friends, Green Tomatoes, Herbs, Peppers, Pesto, Pettit Basset Griffon Vendeen, Tomato, Uncategorized, Vegetables

PREPARING FOR THE INEVITABLE

This is the time of the year

When we know what’s coming

Whether we want it or not.

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Sometime in the next few weeks

It will freeze

Mother Nature will play with us a bit first.

A few “light frosts”

Will take out those heat loving friends.

Basil is usually the first to go.

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Followed by annuals of all kinds.

Then finally will come the dreaded

“KILLING FROST”.

There are many years where I am ready for a freeze.

But most years it’s a sad day for me.

So I’ve learned over the years

To do a little October preparation

For the inevitable November freeze.

I’m not a great indoor gardener.

I don’t have tons of plants that I care for in the winter.

But I do try to have a good supply of herbs

Basil and rosemary to be specific.

Awhile back I planted my winter basil pots.

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They have been sunning in my south office window

Last spring when I way overbought Rosemary Arp

Because it’s supposed to be hardy here.

I put a few in two small pots

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Which will soon join the basil upstairs.

Today I decided to save a few of the plants

In my big patio pots

So I potted up the variegated Swedish Ivy

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And the Plumbago.

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Then I put the potted plants back in their giant pots

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When the freezing west wind blows

All I have to do is pick up the pots

And take them to the garden house.

I’ve done this for years with the Foxtail Ferns.

They spend their entire summer in their winter pots

Buried in the patio pots.

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It saves me time on a cold November afternoon.

And it saves my back a bit.

Now if I can just find the time to turn all that basil

Into pesto

I’ll be ready for the cold days to come.

This year I have something new to fill those days.

Did I mention I have two new grandchildren???

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Gail

 

 

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Filed under Basil, Fall, Foxtail Fern, Garden House, Grandchildren, Plumbago, Variegate Swedish Ivy

A STATE OF HORTICULTURAL CONFUSION

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This is the time of year that really messes with my head.

On Friday it was cold

And wet

And windy.

Frost and freeze warnings

Running through our part of the state.

But…it’s only mid October.

We should have at least 2 more weeks before a freeze

Maybe as long as a month.

So do I believe the forecast.

Drag all those ferns inside

Depriving them of a few more weeks

Of open air and sunshine.

Because once they are in

They are in.

Too heavy to lug back and forth.

Or do I just cover them for the night.

I opted for the later

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And got lucky.

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But basil is a different story

It begins to pout at anything below 50 degrees.

So I cut it all

And put it in the sink

Awaiting the energy to make it into pesto.

The red pesto is done.

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But the green is more labor intensive.

So here we are on Sunday night.

Still with a sink full of basil.

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Maybe tonight.

But it’s the front yard

That truly suffers from

Horticultural Confusion!

You’ll notice I haven’t written much about Hydrangea this summer

That’s because after not 1 or 2

But 4 freezes stretching to the very last day of April

My Hydrangea have bloomed very little this year.

Until now.

So as the mums, which line the front of the hydrangea bed,

Are budding and blooming.

So are the Hydrangea.

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Thankfully for the most part they are in the same color family

So it seems to work.

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Then there’s the true front yard mystery.

Lettuce.

Growing along the grassy edge

Of the new bed John created

On the front landing.

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Lettuce!

I’ve never planted it here.

The closest would be the pot on the landing

But how did it jump so far?

And that my friends is what I love about gardening.

The mystery.

No need for answers

Just revel in the mystery.

Gail

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Filed under Basil, Boxwood, container gardening, Fall, Ferns, Gardening, Hydrangea, Lettuce, Timing, Uncategorized

IT’S HERE

It arrived over the weekend.

A bit later than the lunar calendar

But you could feel it in the air

Cool

Crisp

Fall

I love this time of year.

Beginning in August

We can hear the high school band

Practicing each morning

Soon after

It’s the sound of the Friday night football crowd.

Shortly after that

The whistle of the train in the park

Is silenced.

It’s the seasonal rhythm

Of the sounds of my backyard.

The change of season

Is also happening

In my garden.

Monarch butterflies

Stop for nectar

On their way home for the winter.

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Others flitter about.

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The roses give us another burst of bloom.

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Praying mantis appear

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Along with some of spring’s lady bugs.

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Dahlias are glorious in this weather.

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And we all know what happens to cockscomb in the fall.

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Basil is reaching for the sky

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Which means it’s pesto making time.

Peppers finally begin to come on

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And speaking of obstinate vegetables

Tomatoes are happy!

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So am I.

Hope you have a happy fall week.

Gail

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Filed under Basil, Bugs, Butterflies, cockscomb, Dahlias, Fall, Fall Vegetables, Herbs, Lady Bugs, Peppers, roses, Uncategorized, Vegetables

SHARING SEASON

Gardeners are known for sharing.

They love to share

Information

Plants

Flowers

Seeds

Cuttings

And, of course, the bounty of their gardens.

Zucchini comes to mind.

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For me it’s all of the above

But mostly flowers.

I have long contended that flowers

“Are food for the soul”.

That we need flowers

Just like we need food.

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I think this goes back to college

And John.

When we first began dating

He brought me flowers several times a week

For months on end.

The most spectacular was that first spring.

He brought me an enormous bouquet

Of Iris.

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Years later I realized that florists don’t sell that kind of Iris.

You know them – German Bearded Iris.

The kind that grow in little old ladies gardens

In college towns.

I’m not sure she intended to share!

His choice of vases was most unique.

A plastic pumpkin

Left from Halloween.

Simply had to marry the guy after that!

And so in the ensuing 40+ years

I’ve made it a point to make bouquets

And spread them around.

I’m pleased to say that Elliott and Kristina

Are carrying on the same tradition.

Kristina rarely leaves home for an evening with friends.

Without a bouquet in tow.

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And she always has fresh flowers throughout their home

When we come to visit.

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I must confess here that this year my bouquets are going

Not to individuals so much

As to places.

On Saturday I pluck whatever is happy

For church on Sunday.

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Then during the week

Loaves & Fishes gets a bouquet.

A cheerful greeting for the volunteers

And clients who come in need of help feeding their families.

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Now all of this is well and good.

Lovely really

But it doesn’t hold a candle to the real pros

When it comes to sharing from your garden.

Those of you who focus on vegetables

Leave the rest of us in the shade.

Just this week

Kelly came by with a basket of green beans.

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Yum!

Earlier in the week the Koehns

Brought tons of cucumbers and squash of all sorts

To Loaves & Fishes.

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Mitch brought squash, too

Ann gave her weekly supply of basil

And assorted veggies.

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Then yesterday the fun and lively members of the Freed family

Called at the end of the Farmers Market

To donate what was left to Loaves & Fishes

I met them there.

Their 4 sons, daughter and her friend

Unloaded hundreds of pounds of freshly picked produce

Watermelon

Cantaloupe

Peppers

Eggplant

Squash

After working at their produce stand all morning.

They loved the cooler.

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What a great family

Working together

Laughing

Sharing

Those are lucky kids.

I know

I come from the same kind of family

And it has painted my life

With sharing.

Gail

Early 1950's

Early 1950’s

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Filed under Basil, Bouquets, Farmer's Market, Flower Arrangements, Gardening Friends, Herbs, Iris, Uncategorized, Vegetables

DAYS OF GRACE

 

We are having some splendid days this fall.

Granted, a few days are warmer than usual.

But overall this is one of the reasons

I love life on the Great Plains.

Indian Summer.

The cool crisp days

Filled with sunshine

And hope.

 

Many here are putting in fall vegetable gardens.

Our summers have gotten a little “toasty” for tomatoes.

So now we often get as many if not more in the fall than summer.

That has certainly been the case at my house.

Because I have ridiculously over committed myself this fall

I’m finding little to no time to spend in my garden.

I have managed to get some transplanting done.

Ferns, Hostas and Hydrangeas have all been relocated

To a happier home – hopefully.

I’ve pulled fallen plants out of the ground where they block my path.

Beyond that I’m afraid time in the garden just isn’t happening.

These are the days that my garden teaches me grace.

That unrelenting giving that God and gardens are known for.

It’s as if they are saying to me

You can ignore my but…

I’m still here.

I’m not going anywhere.

I will be here for you

When you take a minute to slow down

And let me in.

I’m not only here

I have much to give

To teach you

And to share.

Gail

 

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Filed under Basil, Bouquets, cockscomb, Dahlias, Fall, Fall Vegetables, Gardening, Tomato, Uncategorized