I’ve grown basil in a pot. I’ve grown basil in the corner of a raised bed. But this last spring, I planted a tiny 99 cent seedling in the flower bed at the side of the house. This bed runs between the walkway and the brick wall which radiates the hot afternoon sun. 

My “basil tree” this year is proof that the home-made organic way works wonders. Three years ago, when we first established this bed, before planting a thing, I turned in massive amounts of organic material: home-grown compost, bags of local mulch, pilfered leaves from neighbors’ yards, and cotton burr. I then transplanted in the fall from other corners of my yard sun-loving bulbs and perennials. I even scattered seeds that I had harvested the year before from our own spent flowers. That first spring, everything survived. The second spring, the plants started filling out and bloomed somewhat. But the third year, this year, the perennial magic happened! The flowers really showed out and I planted my little basil seedling amongst this prolific fertility.

That little basil seedling is now a five-foot stunner! I’ve let it bloom and go to seed because the pollinators love it and I want to see if the seeds will scatter and self propagate next year.

I love basil in salads, meat marinades, sauces, and especially as the main ingredient in pesto. Pesto is so versatile to have on hand. You can serve it on toasted french baguettes, toss it with pasta, or use it as a fresh vegetable dip. It’s so easy to make too! Put all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse till a rough, spreadable paste is formed. That’s all there is to it!


What herb will you plant in a sunny spot this year?

3 cups packed fresh basil leaves

1/2 cup toasted nuts (almond, pine, walnut, pecan)

3 large cloves garlic

1 tsp salt

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Pesto Recipe

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