Monday, August 16, 2010


I think it takes a village to do anything around here, not just raise children. It takes a village to make pesto.

Every year I do silly things in the garden. One silly thing is to "companion plant". You know, marigolds to keep bugs away from the vegetables, peas to climb up the corn, basil to be shaded from the direct sun by the tomato plants.

The marigold idea might actually work, but the other two? Not so much. Not in my climate anyway. The corn has to grow quicker than the peas or there's nothing to climb. And the basil? I think it needs all the sun it can get in our short season. And the tomatoes are always WAY to big for the space I plant them in.

This year once again I planted my tiny tomato seedlings and then carefully put basil plants between them. It's not a good photo because of the rain gushing down and my unwillingness to walk beyond my front step, but these tomato plants are now huge. I can't find where one ends and the next starts.

And the basil? Where is it? Occassionally I find a twiggy limb of basil desparately trying to reach some sunlight through the tomato foliage. It's not working. Remind me next spring not to bother.

Luckily, Rosa had more basil than she had time to deal with. While I just make stupid mistakes in the garden, hers is perfection but she's immersed in some big projects in the house at the moment. Bad timing, but here's where the community idea comes in.

I pulled the plants out of her garden today as they were mostly in the process of making flowers. Look at how much basil she grew! And the leaves are awesome. Glossy and big and pesto-inspiring.

In exchange for all this basil, I am making pesto for both of our families to enjoy. I've done three batches and have just one to finish up tomorrow. Once the leaves are washed, dried and stripped from the stems, most of the work is done. Two more minutes to whiz it up in the food processor and I think I'll be ready to make up some pesto chicken for supper tomorrow. Mmm, mmm.

I'm so grateful for friends who share their produce.


Rosa said...

I can hardly wait to taste it!
And perfection?!!
You must have been kindly filtering out the weeds when you were looking at it! lol.

Evelyn in Canada said...

I think I've just been blinded by the leeks. :-)

Unknown said...

I got a lot of basil this year too - first time I've ever grown it - and I have no clue what to do with it! I'll try pesto. Does basil dehydrate ok?

And Ev - my tomatoes aren't minding one another's personal space either. I feel like such an intruder when I try to see if there's any ripe tomatoes in that mass of greenery.

Evelyn in Canada said...

AJC: I'm sure you can dry basil, but I think it loses some of it's flavour that way. Most herbs do. I thought about drying some of it, but then I thought about how I use it. Always in combination with oil and garlic, and the addition of cheese is always good, so pesto for the whole lot seemed like the obvious choice for me.

You could also freeze it. I've done that and it was tasted fine, but I tend to lose small baggies of herbs in my freezer so dried is always a better option for me. I'll bet that little baggie from last year is still in there somewhere.

Patty-Jean from LittleQuiver said...

I can almost smell that basil! I love making pesto - never can have too much basil! My hubby's aunt took inside her basil at the end of the summer a couple of years ago...turned into a basil tree inside! It looks like a small fig tree - Crazy - I would LOVe to have a basil tree!
Happy kitchen/harvest/prepping!