Saturday, October 20, 2007


Cooking with Orchids.
Well, not in the way you might think. This is more about the evolution of a thumb, from the normal pinkish color to more green. I remember my grandfather having a green house attached to his home that was actually larger than the home itself! He did things like invent new plants, the old-fashioned way. Although my parents grew up on farms, and had a large garden for a good bit of my growing up, I didn't catch the green thumb.

When I started my relationship with plant nurturing, things did not want to thrive for me, however oddly, rather exotic plants took to me, and I found success with African violets and then on to orchids. The photo above is of an orchid now blooming in my dining room. I stayed with the orchids for quite some time. But, emboldened from reading about the successes of other bloggers, I ventured on to other things.

Basil Bolting

Such as the basil. As sad as it looks now -- Muffintop confirmed it 'bolted'. And I also got a clue when my window washer, a gardener, mentioned that I need to 'harvest' the basil, and I noticed the flowering tops had been pulled off when he left the deck! A little extra service to a novice gardener I guess. It looked rather sad in the rain yesterday morning, but it still made a tasty filling with some fresh tomatoes in a frittata, and it is evidence of good success in my first non-exotic plant adventure. It's October, and I actually managed to keep it alive since July!


When the basil seemed to be continuing to live, I went on to mint! One of my favorite things is mint tea, and it is so much better with fresh leaves! You've seen this one before, but I used all the scraggly branches in the tea and gave it a good haircut about a week ago, and it's growing back incredibly quickly!


All of this made me confident enough to try something daring - arugula! I put some starts in a pot about three weeks ago, and it seems to be happy! I remembered that my mother had been able to grow copious amounts of leafy greens in a raised bed under our carport in a rather urban setting (Everett, WA). I thought since the weather is milder here, perhaps I could grow some greens too. You'll notice the wired pot stand on the right of the photo, this was from early attempts at growing rosemary. However, it gets SO windy on my decks, that things tend to blow over and every pot, even quite large, of rosemary would keep blowing over in the winter, even when not in the stand, and drying out. It's another reason I didn't think anything would grow here. But the arugula looks happy so far. I guess I could call the dishes I make with these things "extreme local"! That's the report for now.


Elle said...

Anna, the basil does look like it is coming to the end, but I've had bolted basil for over a month & there are still leaves to use for cooking.
The mint and arugula look happy and I hope you'll share how long the arugula lasts.
Great seeing you today. I will post soon on our lunch. Bet your hair looks gorgeous!
So glad we live (sort of) close.

cookiecrumb said...

Isn't it fun, Anna? I get such a kick out of my meager attempts to grow stuff.
And I'm no basil expert, by far. Congratulations on a successful summer, and best wishes for a fall crop.
On your teeny deck! (I know, because I house-hunted a couple of years ago in your complex.)
PS: Cookiecrumb is back, dammit. :D