The Weekly Gardener 1



A Pot of Mixed Basil

Yellow Rose

I always have a few pots of herbs on the balcony, to soak up the sunshine all summer long. Contrary to my expectations, herbs are not the kind of care free plants that will forgive you if you forget to water them, not even the drought friendly rosemary.

They may require a little more work when grown in containers, but I like having them there, on the balcony, lost among the pots of petunias and moss roses.

On a whim, I decided to start the basil indoors this year, something I usually don't bother to do with herbs, and it returned the favor by germinating very quickly and immediately engaging in a growth spurt. By the time I move this pot outside, it may be fully grown.

Since the purple basil is more attractive and the green one is more flavorful, the pot features a blend of both.

Basil is a sensitive and special herb: it likes sunshine but wilts quickly if it doesn't get plenty of water on a regular basis. Some treat it as holy, old wives' tales say that it drives men to madness, or that it is the plant of the basilisk and as such has the ability to protect people from venomous bites. Some legends even assert that it can guide the dead safely into the afterlife.

At the very least, it is said to bring happiness and prosperity into the household. I will let you in on a little secret: all herbs do. Just plant as many of them as you can and enjoy them all summer long in delicious healthy dishes, they're well worth your trouble.


Starting the Vegetable Garden


Here's to this year's crop! I decided to try Independence Day tomatoes, and learned that they have a much lower germination rate than other varieties. Let's hope they make up for it with taste.

The seedlings look sturdy and enthusiastic, and have grown large enough that I don't have to worry about them anymore.

I haven't fully planned this summer's vegetable garden, but it will be pretty much the same as it is every year: tomatoes, peppers, sweet and hot, eggplants, squashes, beans, and cucumbers, together with an assortment of kitchen herbs.

The veggie patch is still buried under last year's growth, an unfortunate setback due to the weather. As I said, March is a fickle and deceitful month, you can't trust it to let you clean up, not to mention plant!

It is so cold that I didn't dare go outside for a whole week, but I know that some of the plants that decided to brave the world early are not faring very well right now. They'll recover, I hope.

Fifteen degrees, even negative temperatures at night, if you add the wind chill. Not everything one hopes for in spring, I must say.

The little crabapple tree had already started opening its leaf buds, just in time for the freeze. This too shall pass; in the meantime I get to enjoy the little makeshift garden in my living room.