Saturday, June 23, 2012

Ode to Basil

There's a lot of basil growing in our front window boxes, much of it going to flower in the intense early summer heat.  J'adore basil, every type I can find seeds for. Here's a sampling of what we're harvesting.

Note the robust white borage (at left) staking out its territory
 amid the basil and a feathery cilantro gone to flower.

Geraniums are my flower of choice for bold color and for practical reasons too: drunk people who inhabit our neighborhood (which has turned into a sports bar theme park of sorts) like to yank flowers out of the window boxes. Geraniums are happy to be picked up off the sidewalk the next day and replanted. Art's grandma told us she stored bare-root geranium plants over the winter, hanging in the cellar.

We also have festivals now, where we once had gangbangers. Better? Debatable. At least one festival-goer vomited in three of my window boxes a couple weeks back. I tried to view it as compost, but it was stinky (compost smells sweet). So I doused the planters with water and then vinegar.

Somehow the basils--including these holy basil--bounced back (faster than I did after that little episode, that's for sure). Holy basil has a flavor all its own, more flowery to my palate than some of the others. This is the basil called for in the Thai classic Gai Pad Gapow (chicken basil), which makes frequent appearances in our house wok.

Lettuce leaf or Genovese?

 Must be the dark opal.

I pluck leaves for virtually every meal--torn with fruit in the morning, chopped and added to ground grassfed beef and garlic at lunch, showering vegetables at dinner--and encourage passersby to do the same.  Here's a colander of beautiful deadheads. The seeds and flowers taste good too, if assertive.

Plus, health benefits: 60% of the RDA for bone-building vitamin K in just two teaspoons of basil (I am so covered).

You can't deadhead forever, though.  When we let them go to flower, the bees are ever present. They love basil as much as I do.


Cristy said...

I have lime basil in my garden. If you don't have any, it's worth seeking out. It tastes really good.

H2 said...

I do have lime basil, CC--it's utterly refreshing, isn't it? thanks for the suggestion. There's one that tastes of licorice too.

Debbie said...

Love the different varieties you are growing H2. You've reminded me to succession plant some Mrs. Burns Lemon Basil.

Leon said...

Thought you might like to see this rooftop grow:

H2 said...

Very nice, Leon--many thanks for sending. Are they top-watering, do you know?