Just about two months ago, a strange and wonderful idea popped into my head. In the midst of preparing for finals, projects, and every other stressful evaluation that seems to coincide with that last month of the school year, I decided that it would be a fantastic idea to delve into the magical world of gardening.
I garden now.
Gardening is cool.
Dr. Who geeks, name that reference!
The wonders of horticulture have always been a hit-and-miss area of my life, mainly due to a severe lack of that special, gardening-style brand of serene, cultivated patience on my part. I can remember in the third grade class garden my partner and I chose to grow peanuts which, on average, take at least 100 days to reach harvestable maturity. Meanwhile, a good portion of my class opted for speedy-quick radishes, which can be plucked from the ground in about a month.
Peanuts take a month to barely sprout out of the ground.
Suffice it to say, between the fruitless rewards of the peanut plant and the envy I felt towards my giggling, radish-laden classmates, gardening proved to be a rather demoralizing experience, even if we both know that peanuts are ten times tastier than bitter radishes. I mean, who even eats radishes? At best, they’re just that weird garnish that you shuffle to the side of your salad plate.
Really, I’m totally over it.
However, to be fair, I’ve always had a definite appreciation for the art of keeping plants alive. Throughout my childhood, my mom maintained a ravishing plot of multicolored roses in our backyard, whose blossoms would routinely decorate our dining room table throughout the season. In our front yard, there stood a pair of gardenia bushes that perfumed the porch with their quintessentially Southern springtime scent, whose delicate, white flowers could be seen floating in a shallow bowl of water on one of the side tables.
It was this stark contrast of gardening experiences that eventually rekindled my hopes that I, too, could somehow manage to coax a plant to yield its bountiful fruits. That, and the fact that buying fresh herbs at the grocery store was seriously eating a hole in the family budget.
Starting out small, I ran to ye olde home and garden store and grabbed a set of basil plants. Sweet, savory, vibrant basil instantly spoke to me of all manner of summery culinary delights, from rich pestos to crunchy panzanellas. I also opted to include a pair of tomato plants as well as a lone bunch of tomatillos.
Let’s skip past how those two turned out, shall we?
My basil has been an mercifully expedient and beautifully successful venture in my world of gardening. This could be due to the fact that I bought the entire, full-grown plants and just popped ‘em in the ground, rather than bothering to plant them from mere seedlings, but I choose to believe that I’ve discovered a latent, herb-growing talent hidden deep within my already incredibly nurturing nature instead.
Well, that and the fact that my dad keeps track of when the heat-scorched buds might benefit from a dousing with the garden hose. He’s very helpful like that.
Happy Father’s Day, Dad. :)
Now, for as much as I’ve bared my radish-scarred soul and bragged about my basil adventures, I do need my readers’ help with something. I have overflowing amounts of basil at my disposal and maybe two recipes in which to use it. So tell me, what do you think I should make with all this fresh basil??