Friday, July 3, 2015

Seed to Table Series-Basil

Welcome to our Summer Series,
Seed to Table.
Every Friday, we'll explore a different crop
that you can grow in your own garden.
Whether you're in mid-harvest, already looking ahead to your fall garden,
 or just thinking about growing your own,
we hope this series inspires you.
We'll begin with planting from seed or seedling,
and end up with a scratch recipe. 


Summer is officially here
and nothing says summer like basil.

This crop loves the heat of summer.
It thrives when the temperatures soar,
and fully embraces every drop of summer rain.


We usually start seeds in the early spring,
when nights are noticeably warmer.
They don't take long to germinate,
usually within a few days, you'll see seedlings popping up.
Any container will do, as they don't mind being transplanted,
but the direct sow method works too.

Basil, like most herbs, needs well-draining soil.
They don't like wet feet,
so it is paramount that they dry out between waterings.
The plants get to be up to 3 feet tall,
gracing the gardener with abundant leaves
and an intoxicating aroma.
Pinching the ends of the newest leaves
encourages further production,
while delaying the plant from going to seed.
Harvesting can occur at any time
 once the first few sets of leaves appear. 


 To ensure future sowings,
the plant can be allowed to bolt, or go to seed, as seen here.
Long stalks will grow up from the center of the plant,
and display dried seed pods that can easily be collected.

The seeds can be kept for planting next season 
and the whole, wonderful cycle starts over again.
Isn't nature a magnificent thing?

Here's one of our favorite recipes
for those boatloads of leaves you'll be harvesting!

(French version of pesto) 
3 cups fresh basil leaves
2-3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
Splash of fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil 
Salt and pepper to taste

 1. In a food processor, mince garlic.

2. Add in basil and cheese and blend. 
Slowly drizzle in olive oil 
while the machine is running. 
Blend until smooth.

3. Squeeze in lemon juice 
and add salt and pepper to taste. 

Join us each Friday for our Summer Series- 
Seed to Table.

 Week One:  Sweet Potatoes

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