It’s really hard to believe that after two weeks of starting my veggie planter I have so much Basil that I need to find a use for it. I think I planted the first Basil plant about a month ago and together with the batch I planted in the new veggie planter I have so much that I decided to make Basil Pesto.
Here’s my Basil Pesto Recipe:
Ingredients for approximately 250mls of Basil Pesto:
2 cups of freshly picked basil leaves (I packed the cups so they were stuffed with basil leaves)
Quarter cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese (try to use a really good quality)
Quarter cup of pine nuts (you can also use walnuts if you can’t get hold of pine buts)
2 garlic cloves freshly minced (you might like to use a bit more garlic than this – its a personal taste preference)
A tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice
Quarter cup of extra virgin olive oil
A pinch of salt – (also optional, and its a personal preference – like to use a dash of Maldon or sea salt, seems to make the pesto pop!)
Pick all the Basil leaves off the stalks and rinse them in cold water (throw away any leaves that aren’t perfect)
Chop the pine nuts in a food processor (or blitzer if you have one)
Add the basil leaves and garlic and continue to chop / blend them together
Slowly start to add the olive oil and lemon juice and blend until you have a thick, smooth paste
Add the Parmesan cheese and blend it in
Some people prefer a slightly less “blended” Pesto with some lumpiness to it … blend the pesto to your preference
I know someone who adds a teaspoon of sugar to her Basil Pesto – I prefer the pinch of salt – but they are both options
If you plan to freeze your Pesto you should leave the Parmesan cheese out of it and add it after thawing – I personally don’t freeze Basil Pesto – I like it fresh!
If anyone has any great variations on my very basic Basil Pesto Recipe, I’d love to know – please leave a comment below!
I have set up the new veggie planter, purchased seedlings from the nursery, studied up on companion planting to see which of the seedlings will grow well together and then lovingly planted all the new herb and vegetable seedlings. With the new vegetable planter it has been incredibly easy to do and surprisingly, it was lots of fun! Now it’s time to sit back, give the plants a good daily watering and lots of TLC and then see what happens. As this is my first foray into vegetable gardening I’m excited but also just a little sceptical. Can I do actually do this? Time will tell …
I thought you might be interested in what I’ve planted. As I have negative experiences with planting from seed in the past, I decided my first attempt at vegetable gardening should be planting from seedlings (“Instant gratification” is what I was really going for here. We’ll leave the seed planting for a time when I am a little more experienced with this).
So here is what I’ve planted in the basins: (see photos below)
[one_half]Basin number One: In the first basin (Far left), I have a Strawberry plant which is a fair size and already flowering. I couldn’t resist, it was such a pretty plant and we love Strawberries. I’ve planted cauliflower (bonny hybrid) and one rocket lettuce plant in there as well. Cauliflower is supposed to work well with Strawberries. I bought the little Bumble Bee as a “scare crow”, so that the birds don’t come and eat the strawberries (wishful thinking!)[/one_half]
[one_half_last]Basin Number Two: In the second basin (Centre Left), I’ve planted two chili plants. The first is called “Long Red Cayenne Slim”. Its supposed to be very hot with green to red fruit. The second Chili plant is called Golden Habanero. Together with the two chillis we’ve planted parsley (type: Big Ben moss curled) and three little seedlings that lost their label. (I think they are lettuce but am not 100% sure. They look like lettuce).[/one_half_last]
[one_half]Basin Number Three: In the third basin (Centre Right), I’ve planted at the back, Oregano (Rosenkuppel), a Sweet Pepper star yellow, a few Cherry Tomatoes and Sweet Basil (because I already know Tomatos go well with Sweet Basil).[/one_half]
[one_half_last]Basin Number Four: In the fourth basin (Far Right), I’ve planted at the back: Lemon Grass (which Stefani uses a lot in her Thai cooking) and Coriander (which we use a lot). In the front: lettuce (green Cos) and spinach (bright lights).[/one_half_last]
As usual, I bought too many plants, so some extras still need to be planted out into the garden. These include Rosemary and Garlic Chives and a few cherry tomato plants I didn’t have space for. I planted them in the bed with the existing Sweet Basil and Tomato Plant (which are both thriving!) If I’d know vegetables grow so quickly … I might have started this a long time ago!
I’ve worked out that the amount of money I spend buying Sweet Basil and Parsley alone from Woolies in a period of one year, pays for all the seedlings, potting soil and the vegetable planter I bought! So as long as the sweet basil and parsley reward me with usable leaves, we’ve broken even. Any additional crops I harvest from my new little Vegetable Garden will be a bonus! And how wonderful that I won’t be wasting left-overs anymore. I really hated throwing away what we didn’t use every week because it was no longer fresh. So that alone will make me happy and if it tastes better than store bought I’ll be ecstatic.
If this works we’ll progress on to growing cucumbers, onions, potatoes and who knows what else … but for that we will allocate a bed in the garden. I already have my eye on one!
I have been using this basic organic pesticide in my garden, especially on my lemon tree, and it is working wonders. I know we both hate using these harsh chemical pesticides and with the help of Margret Roberts, I have been successful with this mix.
Take a bucket (I’m not quite there yet with this huge quantity) of basil or any pungent strong herb. Pour 1 to 2 buckets of boiling water over this and leave to draw and cool overnight. Next morning, strain this and add 1/2 cup grated Sunlight Soap (the dishwashing green bar) or Sunlight Soap powder – it is the pureset you can get with no added detergents. Mix well and then splash on plants.
I use a spray container and spray liberally and then rub it gently onto the infected leaves upside and underside of the leaves. You can also pour around plants and down ant holes. Evenings are usually the best time to spray the organic pesticide because all the good bugs (like the bees and the lady bugs) have gone to ‘bed’. Eventhough it is safe, I just take extra precautions.
Try it out – I am sure you will find it safe and effective!
Thought I’d give you an update on the little Tomato plant you gave me! Here it is and you can see the little Sweet Basil plant I bought on Sunday planted next to it! I am amazed at how quickly the tomato has grown. It must be three times the size it was when you gave it to me. (wish all my plants grew that quickly!).
They are both living in a little 1m² patch which is the only full sun patch in the whole garden. So I am hoping they thrive. So far so good. The tomato has been there for about two weeks and looks much happier than when she was in the pot and the basil plant has been there since Sunday.
Had a busy day away from the garden, so I’ll have to do a walk-about tomorrow and give you an up date! I mentioned that I have a seedling tray full of sweet basil amd roma tomato shots and that I’ll be transplanting them to larger, individual seedling trays. Last year I grew bushes and bushes of sweet basil from seed and I find them the easiest plant to grow. The way to keep them growing is to nip off the tips of the bush. This will keep them growing and growing. As soon as they go to flower they complete the cyle of the plant and then they are no longer eadible. So keep nipping!!!
With its aromatic leaves, basil is one of the most popular culinary herbs. A frost-tender annual, it is easy to grow from seed or seedlings. Basil, which grows to a height of 40cm, does best in a sunny spot in light, well-drained soil. Water regularly, especially in hot, dry weather. Don’t forget to pinch out tips and flowers to encourage growth.
Companion plant: Tomato – Plant next to tomatoes to improve flavour and growth.