dragoness_e: Me in the pink straw cowboy hat (Pink Hat)
[personal profile] dragoness_e
Hmm, it's been a while since I posted any photo-essays. I've got quite a lot of pictures piled up that I'll get around to posting some time. I hope.

Meanwhile, today I took a couple of pictures just to show you my herb garden. I grow stuff in pots in the greenhouse because I just don't have the energy to fight the weeds and bugs on steroids we have down here; it's easier to keep a few pots of kitchen herbs under control and weed-free than it is to keep a whole kitchen garden up and running. This is my second year of raising kitchen herbs and a few straggly orchids I inherited with the greenhouse.

Bench with potted herbs and orchids

Top row, left to right: orchid, orchid, cinnamon basil, lemon balm, lemon balm, parsley, chives, orchid, orchid.
Bottom row: 5 pots of sweet basil, big pot of sweet basil, Thai basil, cinnamon basil.

By the way, I like basil.

Box full of spearmint

I found this planting box full of nothing but sandy dirt. Last year I planted mint and spearmint in opposite corners, and sweet basil and Thai basil in the other two corners. That's when I found out that mint does not confine itself to corners... it spreads like whoa! When the basil plants start dying at the end of summer (they are annuals), I pulled the basil and just let the mint take over the box. If you hang around it, it smells like a ton of Wrigley Spearmint chewing gum.

Date: 2011-05-22 02:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lunatron.livejournal.com
I envy all your delicious herbs.

Date: 2011-05-22 02:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dragoness-e.livejournal.com
I will have way more basil than any sane person knows what to do with. I end up making a lot of basil pesto and eating basil, bacon and tomato sandwiches. (Basil + tomato is one of those awesome natural combinations where each enhances the other). Basil does not keep in the refrigerator--it oxidizes like fresh tea after a day, but you can freeze it. I made pesto with frozen basil several times this winter.

Hmm, I wonder if you could do to basil what you do for tea--halt the oxidation with heat? They do dry basil, obviously...

I have no idea what I'll use cinnamon basil for. It's one of those uncommon cultivars and I've never tried it before. Thai basil is used in a several oriental recipes. If I can get drying figured out, I can at least send samples around.

Sweet basil is easy to grow in warm weather. It sprouts easily, loves heat, and will grow in a large pot, though you have to keep it well watered. It's an annual, and pretty much starts dying after it goes to seed, though I hear you can nurse it through the winter sometimes. I just harvested all mine once they went to seed. You can delay them going to seed by pinching off the blooms, of course.

For sweet basil, I like the commercial seed just fine. The Thai basil was a plant I bought at the garden shop last year; I collected the seed from last year's plant and started a new batch this year. I will probably due the same for the cinnamon basil, since it was something I got from the Seed Exchange (heirloom breeds), and not easily available at Walmart's garden shop.

Mint is an aggressively spreading perennial. Once you get it started growing, it will take over your yard if you let it. Lemon balm is new this year; I'm not sure what I'm doing with it yet. It smells nice, though.
Edited Date: 2011-05-22 02:11 pm (UTC)

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