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Saturday, February 6, 2010


Genovese, Purple Ruffles, Mammoth, Cinnamon, Lemon, Globe, Holy, and African Blue. These are the common cultivars of basil.  I love basil.
On cold winter days like this, I start daydreaming about the garden and the herbs.  Of the potential.

Two seasons ago, I shopped at the garden stores a little too late.  All the basil was gone.  No where to be found.  I went that entire summer basil-less, with none growning out back to pick at whim.  It was awful. Sad. Stressful, even.

Last spring, I read an issue of Ace Weekly that had an article written by Chef Dave Overton about growing basil from seed in his home  for his restaurant.  Basil plants everywhere, he said. The possibilities seemed endless. I was utterly inspired.  I went out the next day and bought one of those  peat-pod mini-greenhouses, along with basil seeds, pepper seeds, jalapeno seeds, cucumber seeds, and thyme seeds.

Before long, our house was inundated with tiny little plants.  I still can't believe it worked.  Once transplanted outside, they were everywhere.  I had basil  tucked in with  tomato plants. I had them in my flower beds. I even had them growing beneath jalapeno pepper plants.  Even after giving many of them away, I still had more than anyone could possibly need or use.

I used them for everythingIt seems, looking back, that I put them on or in everything last summer.  It was a very sad day when the first frost came.  Those tall garden herbal soldiers just fell limp.  Done.  Over.

There will always be another spring.  And planting to daydream about.

Basil. Wikipedia:  The word basil comes from Greek Basileus, meaning "king", believed to have grown above the spot where St. Constantine and Helen discovered the Holy Cross.  Basil is considered the "king of Herbs". It is a tender low-growing herb.  Usually an annual, but some being perennial in warm, tropical climates.  It tastes somewhat like anise, with a strong, pungent, sweet smell.

Basil is a very complex plant. I love that discription..  Especially, when I think  how that spunky little herb helped lead to a friendship with a very dear person whose yard guy had accidently whacked down her garden basil with a Weed-Eater.

I certainly had enough to go around.

Sweet basil.

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