Sunday, October 08, 2006

Last of the basil

Yesterday was sunny and gorgeous, so I decided to harvest the basil and make a mega-batch of pesto. We filled a huge basket--clipping the plants roughly in half, so there's even more to harvest, but I ran low on garlic and olive oil and had to stop after one basketful. Picked off the leaves, washed them in the salad spinner, then tossed them into a cotton pillow case to blot them dry--it worked! I made several batches, spooning each one into a separate ziplock bag, pressing out all the air, smoothing each bag flat in the bottom of the freezer. Once frozen, they stack neatly in the door.

And I saved a big batch for dinner--chicken with pasta & fresh pesto. Delicious.

I wish I had room to grow basil indoors over the winter. Should have started some "spicy globe" plants in pots last month. I wonder how they'd fare on a sunny windowsill?

Clipped cuttings this morning from several coleus plants: these root in jars of water on the kitchen windowsill, and with any luck I can keep them alive all winter to have a head start next spring--some of the coleus in our garden has been propagated this way for three or four years now--same plant, new cuttings, year after year.

And this is the time of year when I filch coleus cuttings from the neighborhood. Temperature has been dropping into the low 40s, maybe upper 30s the other night, so the plants won't last much longer outdoors. I mentioned this once to a visiting poet as I drove her back to her B&B--it was late September and I had noticed a beautiful leafy coleus plant in the window box--and she exclaimed: "But that's green theft!" Very affronted, she was. (Yes, dear, it is, but in two days it will be frozen mush, and this way a small bit of that lovely plant gets a chance at making it through the winter.)

I could ask permission, I guess. --Nahhh.

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