Kitchen garden: Basil

Sun, 06/14/2015 - 14:42

I never had very much interest in plants and gardens even though my mother used to love it. It just wasn't my thing and it sure as heck wasn't cool. Also, in my house flowers die within a matter of hours rather than days, because it's to dark and probably to warm. I always thought that plants would suffer the same consequences as flowers did so I decided that having plants or flowers in the house wasn't an option. The only plant that survive in my house is the zamioculcas. So far this tropical plants has shown to survive the dark, warm and dry atmosphere in my house. It also doesn't need a lot of water. Until recently this plant was the only species of plants in my house (a have a couple of them). My house was too much of a hostile environment for plant life to flourish so I never ever thought about being creative with other plants.

Ever since the local supermarket started handing out 'moestuintjes' (little kitchen gardens) with with every €15 of groceries I've been getting more and more interested in growing my own food. Knowing that plants have it rough in my house I still tried the little kitchen garden. The first one i started with was basil. I love basil, so I really hoped this kitchen garden would work. The kitchen gardens come in a small cardboard like container with some dried soil and a small paper package with the seeds. Simply add water to the dried soil and wait for it to slowly grow into a larger and moist soil. Then put the moist soil in the little cardboard container, place the paper package with the seeds on top of the soil (the paper would dissolve over time) and top off with a little of moist soil. When it's done simply give it a little bit of water every day to keep it nice and moist and wait for it to grow. For the basil it took about 1 month for the first sprouts to come out of the soil. I couldn't believe it. Something would actually grow in my house! Once the basil became to big for the little cardboard container I moved it to a larger pot (of course with more soil) to give it more room to grow. All this time the basil was sitting on my windowsill, because this is the place where it could soak up the most daylight. And being behind the blinds it was also protected from the dry and warmer air in my house.

I had no idea how long it would take for the basil to grow, but in about 2 months from when I started the little kitchen garden basil it was big enough to be consumed. Not all of it, just took some leafs. It was so nice and fresh. And the smell and taste where great. The first I thing I did was make a pasta salad with pine nuts, garlic, tomato, cheese and my fresh basil. Simply cook the paste, let it cool down and mix the ingredients together with enough olive oil. Meanwhile heat the oven and spread the parmazan (powdered) cheese on a piece of baking paper and let it slowly melt in 5 minutes. Take it out of the oven and let it harden (few minutes). The salad was very nice and the basil keeps on growing, I can hardly keep up. This has inspired me to grown other herbs as well. At the moment I also have chives and thyme growing on my windowsill. I even started growing an adjuma plant (Surinam pepper plant).

I hope this small hobby doesn't get too much out of hand, because space is limited in my house.

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