A little more than one month ago, I planted herbs and veggies in my backyard garden. Some hardy sprouts from last year returned on their own, like the lemon-scented thyme and flat-leaf parsley. Other favorites needed to be replanted, including purple basil and two pepper plants. I also introduced some new crops: Swiss chard, dill, lavender, plain sage (as opposed to last season’s pineapple sage), cinnamon basil, and three varieties of lettuce.
I’ve been weeding and planting and nourishing and coaxing for the past several weeks, and now I’ve taken the first photos of this year’s garden. To my surprise, some of the herbs from last year’s garden grew back on their own—and the thyme persevered throughout the entire winter beneath the snow! Others I discovered at Home Depot and knew I had to try out, like chocolate mint and swiss chard (one of my absolute favorite leaves to use in a salad).
After reading about a homemade pesto sauce at Little Sprouts Learning, I felt inspired to try my hand at making this classic Italian staple. Though most traditional recipes call for either basil or parsley, I decided to combine the two because I had ample amounts of both herbs flourishing in my garden. Although I think the recipe could still use a little bit of tweaking, it resulted in a healthy, tasty sauce. But because Todd likes meat, we also decided to add bacon to our pasta. This recipe serves about four people, depending upon how much each of them eat. We found that it was too much for just the two of us, but we didn’t mind because that meant we’d have leftovers to eat another day!
On June 12, one month had passed since I last updated you on my garden, just after planting. I spent part of this weekend weeding and pruning and watching and watering. Then I blended some purple basil (1 cup), Italian parsley (1 cup), and thyme leaves (0.5 cup) with olive oil (1.5 cup), vinegar (0.5 cup), lemon juice squeezed from half of a lemon, and a teaspoon of sugar to make a tangy yet flavorful salad dressing. Later, I helped my dad plant some more seedlings he found in the shed; I guess we’ll just have to wait and see if they grow. For now, I offer you a mini photo tour in celebration of my garden’s one-month birthday.
Yesterday I gently picked some purple basil leaves from my garden, washed them carefully, and dropped them into some extra virgin olive oil. I mixed in a couple of other ingredients; started up my blender; and had a fresh, all-natural tomato-basil salad dressing in literally seconds.
If I had a car, I would read the owner’s manual to determine how to keep it in good shape. If I had a pet, I’d buy books that teach how to keep it happy and healthy. So why shouldn’t I learn about each plant in my garden in order to help it thrive? First on the list: purple basil.