Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Morning Fog With a Side of Basil

It's another day like yesterday with the morning fog/cloud and bouncing barometer and I feel it in every joint and muscle. Feel headachey. Gonna be a 2 painkiller medication day. I stumble through my morning routine and once both eyes are semi-open, lead my little white guard dogs out to the garden yard. No sign of Mole People.

Last evening about 8pm, Rosie Hoot 'n' Holler had alerted to something on the far side of the garden boat. Of course, we all trailed out to see what it was, and of course there was nothing to be seen. She had sniffed something on the breeze blowing up from the creek. Maybe a cute little Island Mule Deer, or Black Bear, Cougar, bush bunny, or something totally ephemeral - with Rosie you never new.

This morning as I opened the gate to the garden yard, they all rushed to the fence on the far side of the boat, heads bobbing and weaving as they looked towards the creek. Hmmmmm.
Soon they lose interest and wander away. What ever had been there is long gone.

Right now though, I am still a gardener and am going to pot up some of the geraniums and marigolds I still have waiting for me. And maybe do some baking. Days like today, with the bouncing barometer, are days I like to bake because it takes my mind off the arthritis thing and fibromyalgia thing, and that's a good thing.

My Dad and Mom - again "MY" for the purposes of this post - have always been amazing gardeners. I may not have inherited all the Chef gene, but I did inherit the gardening gene. Kate says it skipped her, but I know that's not true. Her yard is full of plants, some of which I gave her, but most are those she got from the Garden Center and all are surviving well thanks to her care.

I have discovered over the years that with my inherited green thumb, I can make almost anything grow...

...with the exception of Basil. For some reason, the Basil-growing gene skipped me entirely. Oh I have tried. Year after year after year I go to the local nurserys, grocery stores, Walmart, purchase a pot of Basil, take it home, transplant it, sigh. It dies. Just starts to wilt, dries up, dies. No matter what I do, even starting it from seed, it dies. That big, green, chubby-leafed
Ocimum basilicum aka Sweet Basil, used in Pesto and Pasta sauce and on Pizza, just defeats me.

I can grow nearly any herb and flower known to man. I have started lemongrass from grocery-store purchased stalks. Take cuttings of my 3 different types of Sage and they start right away. Same with my many types of mint, but heck anyone can do that. I can root cuttings of Oregano and Marjoram and Tarragon endlessly. Rescue a tiny piece of Caraway Thyme plant and bring it back to life, rescue it from the old herb garden, the one Richard rototilled up without asking first if there was anything I wanted to save. Yeah, that one. Take rose cuttings and start new rose plants. Dig up one single solitary Wood Violet from a meadow across the creek, transplant it to my yard, and now have a meadow full of my own every spring. Started a big pot of Sedum from a few flower stocks my friend Bente purchased at the nursery.

But I can't grow Basil.

And still, I try. Even though it has already defeated me once this year - a big pot of it this time that I transplanted among the tomatoes - I am trying again. Just a small pot of it, bought from Naesgaard's Farm Market a couple of weeks ago. It's sitting on my potting table, on the deck, in the shade.

I ignore it.

Occasionally, as I water other plants on the potting table, I "accidentally" spill some into the Basil pot. I
never look directly at it but use my peripheral vision to check it as I walk by. Once, when I did forget and glanced it's way, two of the stocks wilted and died.

The Internet gives the following information and instructions about growing Basil:

Plant basil seeds outside one to two weeks after the last frost of the season, when the soil has warmed up. Inside, start seeds six to eight weeks before transplanting outside. Plant successively every three weeks to have a fresh supply all summer long. Basil prefers well-drained soil that has been amended with organic material (peat moss, compost, or well-aged manure). Keep the seedbed moist during germination, and well watered throughout the growing season.

Basil prefers full sun but will grow in light shade. Do not fertilize unless the soil is very depleted of nutrients. Your basil will have better flavor if it is not fertilized. Pinch off flower spikes as they form. This will maintain basil’s full flavor. Harvest the leaves regularly during the growing season.


Guess someone forgot to tell Basil that.

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