Tag Archives: basil

The Garden As It Is

So, I started an obsession with pickling things over this past winter. Something about trudging through three foot snow drifts made my brain start to crave books about canning. Luckily the library is well stocked and it was pretty easy to start researching whatever it was that caught my fancy (pickled grapes, anyone?). And, fortunately or otherwise (I’ll let you judge for yourself) seed catalogs started appearing in our mailbox. I always love poking through them and usually have no overarching planting schemes in mind… until this time. I flipped straight to the cucumber section and picked out a nice packet of pickling cucumbers and I even found a nice paste tomato that started a spaghetti sauce researching binge.

Now, several months later my cucumbers all died within three days of settling into real dirt outside. So, I trotted down the road to the Saturday Market and bought a flat of six for $1.50 (it was a flat of six containers but it turns out that each container actually held two plants… that’s TWELVE cucumber plants!). I didn’t want to plop them all back in the same place the last cucumbers met their untimely ends in, so I put half of them in an Ikea tupperware bin (the lids don’t lock onto the bins making them practically useless for cramming things into so I didn’t feel much of a twinge when I drilled drainage holes in the bottom) and crossed my fingers.

Here’s the mildly rag-tag “container garden” that’s camped out in the parkinglot. Basil on the far right, depressingly stunted cilantro next, tomatoes in the next container and the wee ones in front, and lastly, cucumbers climbing their way up a trellis in their cozy, useless-for-storage box!

The basil is doing just fine… so far.

Still achingly small tomatoes. I hope they do their tomatoey business before those snow drifts descend again!

And here’s the second half of the garden. Joe and I carved an area out of an old, overgrown vegetable garden on the other side of the parkinglot and planted the cherry tomato plant I bought from the Craftsbury Academy’s plant sale, two acorn squash ($1 for two at the Saturday Market!), three bell peppers (free from the Ag. Program at Sterling) and the other six cucumbers. Linus has been unwittingly indispensable, that blue bucket is full of bunny fertilizer just chillin until we need it! How exciting…

An acorn squash-to-be!

So that’s the garden. In other interesting news down at the lower dorms, Steve is keeping seven of the meat rabbits from the barn out on pasture to compare their weight to the ones still cooped up in the barn.

He refitted a chicken tractor with wheels and scoots them around next to the potato patch.

A California bunny with muddy-red paws… which are perfect foreshadowing. I was buttering my toast this morning and, glancing at the parking lot out the window, saw a delightful little white rabbit calmly meandering around. All seven bunnies had gotten out AGAIN. Between three people we caught six after about and hour of chasing and scrambling… the seventh is nowhere to be found but there’s a mysteriously large pile of white fur in the driveway. The rabbit above squeals like a wounded pig when you grab him. It’s an utterly terrifying sound.

Greenery Update

I have dreams of spending my evenings canning pickles, tomatoes and making pounds of pesto… which is exactly what I’m going to do later this summer. I have started my santo cilantro, genovese basil, little leaf pickling cucumbers and gilbertie paste tomatoes and they’re growing so fast!

Cucumbers, hanging out in mini cups. Joe and I were “pranked” on April Fools Day… someone put roughly 200 little cups half full of water in front of our door. Sadly, our door doesn’t open up outward so I just opened the door in the morning, grunted and raised and eyebrow as I neatly stepped over them. We left them there for a few days until we hunted up a big bowl to pour the water from each cup in to. Now we have 200 little plastic cups, some of which are being used and reused to start the cucumbers because they are a bit too big and their roots too impressive to pop into egg shells very neatly.

Do you remember those wee seedlings I showed you? The ones in the eggshells? Here they are! The basil in the middle flat are the ones from the photo, but all of these were seeded in eggshells then transplanted once they got their first set of adult leaves. These are recycled salad containers I found in the office recycling and they make pretty perfect medium containers for the tomatoes (left) basil (middle) and cilantro (right) once I punched some holes in the bottom for drainage. The lids they came with are parked underneath to catch any water that might make it all the way down through the soil and out through the holes.

Up close basil babies…

Garden Update

Well, it’s that time again. Yes, it’s garden time. Ya’ll should be glad that I don’t post about this stuff every day (although I do go out and fawn over it several times a day).

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Those ‘taters are looking quite pretty today. They’re getting to be really big and no sign of flowers yet… so I think they’re going to get much bigger.
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I think I might stick to doing beans and peas! Sheesh. I need that instant gratification (I can see these guys growing, they move so fast!) and the carrots are definitely not doing it for me.

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Mom and I went to Burns feedstore yesterday and got some patty pans (left) and slicing cucumbers (center) and then in the picture below there are some beefsteaks and a roma tomato plant (along back of box) and some chickpeas (yes, those are some red curlers sheltering the chickpeas). I’ve never done chickpeas before, so that should be interesting.
dscn0662dscn0663The thtwabewwies are ripening up… Mom’s been sneaking some of the riper ones. There is nothing better than fresh strawberries still warm from the sun.
dscn0660My carrots! They’re…. doing things. Slowly. Boooorrriinnnggg…. Still no sign of the parsnips either.
dscn0656But their pea neighbors have already made it up to the second string! Woot!
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The basil is also doing things…. slowly. I hope they’ll make it. My hopes aren’t high, they seem to be really weak and prone to falling over.
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The sage, on the other hand, was off to a slow start but it seems to be making up for lost time. They’re sturdy and I can see some little “real leaves” poking up between those little baby leaves already.

Eatables Update

It’s that time again, time to check in with the garden greenery. This past week I planted the beans and parsnips in the beds. Hopefully we’ll see some action in a couple of weeks from those guys. The only seeds I have left to plant are brussels sprouts, cucumbers and squash!

strawberries_42The strawberries are growing dandily, they’re even starting to blush a little red around the edges and sending out runners.
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Both ‘maters are doing really well, there’s a good handful of green tomatoes on both despite the crazy weather.
carrots_45Oh man, the carrots have finally decided to put in an appearance. I was getting really tired of waiting.
peas_43The peas are still chuggin along. Some of them are trying to strangle their neighbors and others are climbing right up my rather unattractive trellis. Maybe some flowers will start to appear soon. That would be cool.
basil_54Inside, the basil is still popping up, doing their thing in the window.
sage_55And I even found a tiny sage plant, it took long enough didn’t it? I think so.
blue_flowers48Our Forget Me Nots are so happy and pretty! We got a plant from one of our neighbors and found the other somewhere in the yard. The bees love them and, if you get real close, you can smell them faintly.
potatoes_39Potatoes grow between the roots and the top of the plant, so if you keep adding more dirt around them as they grow, it’ll creat more potatoes as the plant grows taller to reach for the sun. I added a couple of inches to the taller plants today and I think I’ll just keep slowly mounding dirt as they grow at their own pace.

Baby Basil

Wow! Look how teeny it is! I check on these little paper pots four or five times a day and surprise surprise, something actually happened this morning! I think I can spot another even teenier one coming up in another pot but I’m not going to go poking around or anything. I’ll save that for when I check on them again in the next hour, and again four hours after that, and then again right before dinner… etc. etc. etc.

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Green Things

photo171So, I promise I’ve been doing this these past couple of weeks… besides updating this blog. One of these “things” just happens to be gardening. Here’s a plan for what’s going to be in our raised beds, if it’s not in there already…

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The potatoes, peas, strawberries and carrots are already in. We had to put an old iron gate over the beds to keep cats from pooping all up in the teeny tiny seeds. Yucky cats. Oh and those big bushy things in front of the beds are three blueberry bushes.

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Remember how big the peas were last week? Well now they’re getting some leaves and I’m pretty sure they’re all up now. Rows and rows of tiny green pea-babies.

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I found a tutorial on Little House in the Suburbs last night for little containers to start seeds in using recycled newspaper. Speaking of newspapers, Mom canceled our subscription to the Oregonian after they repeatedly failed to deliver the paper, even though we called to tell them they hadn’t been by. You can get all that newsy stuff online these days anyway and save some trees in the process. Well, since we canceled we’ve been getting more “free trial papers” plunked on our mailbox than we ever got when we were actually paying for it. The bastards are essentially littering on our lawn by leaving their stupid papers to get rained on and yucky. They’re mostly full of advertisements anyway. Can you tell I’m more than a little irritated?

Sigh.. back to my point. Now I got to use up four pages (yes, a stupendous sum, really) to plant sage and basil in. I’m pretty sure that by the time they’re big enough to transplant the containers will have naturally decomposed a bit too! This is a much craftier way of starting seeds than the old egg carton method.

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Oh and we have our planter boxes all done in the front yard! I planted my lemon basil, lemon verbena, spearmint, chocolate mint and apple mint in there… ohhh this is going to be so good!

For more pictures and info about all the landscaping we’ve been doing, you can go to Dad’s house blog:

Bringing Home the Mulch

Bark Chips and Potatoes

Paths, Boxes and Berries