Christine's garden Gardening Recipes

What to do with all the Basil?

[one_half]Basil Pesto[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Sweet BasilSweet Basil[/one_half_last]

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!

Happy Gardening (and cooking!)

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Picked from the Garden

Vegetables from the gardenI just wanted to share with you the herbs and veggies I picked from the garden for supper tonight. It was such a treat to wander in the garden and pick supper! I can’t wait for my garden to be producing masses of different kinds of vegetables and herbs – oh, like  sweet potatos, carrots, spinach, cauliflower, broccolli……. real health giving food!  But I am having difficulty with the actual styling of my back garden, so this will take some time. I also need the weather to cool down before I tackle a huge project like this! I’ll keep you posted. I know you gave me a great idea about putting together a story board – get a huge piece of cardboard and draw on it my garden layout – place on it cut-outs from magazines that I see and fancy, like water features, different styles that could work, etc! This will be my project for the week!! Thanks for that tip!

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Off to the Nursery!

Sweet BasilI had this shopping list for a whole week and when I finally cleared all the weeds from my veggie patch, I allowed myself the luxury of going to the Nursery, with my best friend of course! It was great – I got almost all the plants I wanted – The main idea was to buy Insect Repelling plants, like the artemesias (Southernwood, Wormwood), Tea Tree and Lemon Verbena,  as well as the tonic plants (Comfrey and Yarrow). I managed to get wormwood and lemon verbena. I’ll have to try again end of March/April for the Tea Tree and the rest.

Here are some pics of the sweet flowers I bought – first time I went for the flowers. Must be your influence! I bought Violas and the white Allysums (?) is that the name?

Happy gardening – I’m going to have my hands full this weekend. Now to find a perfect place for them all.

[one_half]White blooms[/one_half]


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Tomato and Basil

Tomato and Basil plantsThought 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.

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Sweet Basil beginnings

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.

[one_half]Sweet Basil[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Sweet Basil tray[/one_half_last]

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More news from the Veggie Patch

Tomato plantI wanted to show you the tomato plants and the sweet basil that I grow together. These are grown direct from seed and the ones I was able to salvage from the chicken attack! Still mad about that, you know! Anyway, here you can see that they are doing well. This way of organic planting is called Companion Planting. I did alot of research into this and it is a pesticide-free way of planting. Tomatoes and Basil (as well as Parsley) do very well together. This improves the flavour and growth of the Tomatoes. They thrive too! I also learnt that thyme and peppermint are very good herbs to plant along side Tomatoes – helps control white fly. So I have thyme next to mine. Marigolds are also helpful around tomatoes. You told me about Marigolds. They keep away the nematodes in the soil. These little pesky root-destroying pests can stunt the growth of your plant.

Sweet Basil