Monday, October 15, 2012


I love gardening.  There's something magical about being able to see gorgeous plants grow out of virtually nothing, keep them healthy, and be rewarded with the most local food of all.  

Okay, so The Guy actually does a lot of the plant maintenance.  That's not my fault!  I have a longer commute.  And stuff.  

Anyway, I wanted to take you on a mini tour of what we've got growing.  

First up, we have the Great Tomato Jungle on the back porch.  The seedlings were originally purchased from the farmer's market, and were mislabeled.  I thought I was getting heirloom tomato plants (the ugly, bulbous, multicolored, ungodly delicious ones), but they turned out to be cherry tomatoes.  And as it turns out, cherry tomato plants like to take over the universe!  It's unreal.  We have our very own thicket of tomatoes.   One was also planted in an upside-down-tomato thingie, and it promptly grew all the way down to the ground.  These plants are unreal. 

So, so many tomatoes.  These pictures were taken a little while ago, when they were just starting to think about ripening.  We'd had to continually pinch off the flowers to keep them from over-extending themselves even more.  Lately we've been getting buckets of the juicy little ripe tomatoes, and have taken to throwing them in everything, and to grilling 'em on skewers for tomato sauce.  Yum.

Then there's the herb trough.  It's a nifty metal animal-watering sort of thingie, that we filled with dirt.  Grows stuff like you wouldn't imagine.  Earlier in the summer the chive plant set off on its own world-conquest plan, and we harvested armfuls of the stuff.  Much was chopped and dried --- one handy thing about the desert is that anything placed on a metal tray in the sun becomes beautifully dried in about an hour.  The porch table becomes practically a cooking surface.  The rest of the chives were mixed with butter and frozen, for a ready supply of chive butter.  Makes everything better.  That's a fact.

After the chives were thwarted in their evil plans, the basil plant took the opportunity to thoroughly dominate the herb-trough population.  There's also oregano, marjoram, and quite a lot of Italian parsley, but they're all eclipsed by the basil.  The only thing that's immediately apparent in this picture is some of the baby lettuces developing at the edge of the trough.  Witness the quite upwardly mobile basil:

And its cousin, across the yard.  Yes, that's a basil shrubbery.  I, for one, welcome our new basil overlords.

Ah, summer.  Grilled superfresh tomatoes + all the basil you can carry = the most delicious pasta sauce ever.   As autumn comes upon us, we will have to harvest the glorious basil, and it will probably be made into pesto.  Also, proto-pesto basil cubes, made by grinding the basil up with olive oil and freezing the concoction in ice cube trays, then popping them out into a freezer bag and tossing in the deep freeze.  Instant basil punch to whatever you're cooking!

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