Tag Archives: basil

Belated September Harvest

September came and went without a single update here. We have nearly a dozen pumpkins sitting in the basement waiting for halloween. I thought this one was all the way orange — the bottom half was hidden in a thick jungle of leaves.

Pumpkin, peppers and tomatoes
Pumpkin, peppers and tomatoes

We have been using basil throughout the summer, but it was finally time to pick it all. Well, half of it. The other half ended up being lemon basil which isn’t what I wanted for pesto.


I picked all the leaves off and blended them with a little bit of olive oil and a little bit of salt. It’s delicious! We didn’t add the garlic or pine nuts yet, since it was headed for the freezer and the nuts supposedly don’t freeze well.

Almost Pesto!

For a while we’d pick about this many tomatoes twice a week. We only got one ear of corn.

Tomatoes and our single corn
Tomatoes and our single corn

The garden is now all but done. There are some big fat mortgage lifter tomatoes still green on the vine but it’s anyone’s guess if they’ll ripen before the frost gets them.

Mostly I’ve just been studying and working. I did take two days last week and went duck hunting for the first time ever. I didn’t get any ducks, but I had a nice time. I went up to the Carlos Avery wetlands management area near Wyoming, MN. Duck season re-opens next week, hopefully I’ll get a chance to go out again and actually get something.

Duck Hunting
Duck Hunting



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Good Garden, Bad Garden — Growth, Bugs and Black Rot

The Good Stuff

As part of getting back on top of my gardening, I took a tour of the garden tonight and looked closely at how everything is doing. Despite my neglect, some things are doing pretty well. Here’s the rundown.

  • Apples: The bagged apples that didn’t fall of are doing well. Looking nice and bug-free and growing well.
  • Basil: The basil didn’t sprout after planting the first time, but the second round of planting has sprouted strong
  • Beans: The pole beans I originally planted are doing great, and the bush beans planted recently have sprouted too
  • Squash: I hadn’t intended to plant any squash this year, but ended up with several volunteers from the compost. They appear to be doing well, and have no signs of vine borers yet.
  • Beets: I’m nearly positive that the beets have grown since we thinned them. They seem to be happy about the new space
  • Blackberries: We don’t have a lot of blackberry blossoms, but the bushes have grown a lot this year and the blossoms that did appear have large green berries in them.
  • Carrots: The carrots are doing OK since being thinned.
  • Horseradish: The horseradish is thriving. I look forward to making homemade horseradish sauce next year.
  • Marigolds: Planting marigolds instead of strawberries was a good choice for the driveway strip was a good choice. They’re hearty and don’t mind little feet and bikes running over them
  • Onions: Adequate growth
  • Peas: We’ve been eating peas as fast as we can. The new peas we planted after weeding have sprouted.
  • Radishes: The seeds for these radishes came from an emergency seed pack from 1996. They were packed in an airtight #10 can. Someone gave them to us when they cleaned out their basement.
  • Raspberries: It looks like this will be a banner year for the raspberries. Hooray!
  • Tomatoes: The tomatoes seem happy to be out of their starting cups and into the dirt.
  • Peppers: (No picture) Caroline and I planted the peppers outside last night.
  • Wildflowers: Many of them are blossoming. The ones that haven’t blossomed might be weeds. I can’t tell.


The Bad Stuff

Every year of gardening has taught me about one more type of bug or pest that will undo my hard work. Here’s what’s been a problem so far this year.

Black Rot on Our Grapes

Our grapes are looking sick. About 1/3 of the bunches look like this.

Turns out that it’s Grape Black Rot (Guignardia bidwelii). The fruit rots and turns into hard shriveled black things called mummies. According to this PDF from OSU if I trim the bad bunches from the vine, that will reduce the spread. The UMN says “Many organic growers utilize fixed copper or sulfur products to control black rot. Chemical methods include ferbam, mancozeb, captan, or nova.” with notes that the organic methods are much less effective.

I’ll head to Bachman’s tomorrow and see what they have and recommend.

Black Rot on Our Grapes

Sad Spinach

The spinach isn’t as good as it was last year. There are lots of yellow leaves, and it has gone to seed already. The leaves still taste good, but there aren’t nearly as many as there were last year.

Sad Spinach
Sad Spinach

Strawberries Under Attack

Something has been eating our strawberry plants. Google suggests that it might be slugs or snails. I’ll probably pick up some slug/snail killer when I go to Bachman’s tomorrow.

Something Has Been Eating Our Strawberry Leaves
Something Has Been Eating Our Strawberry Leaves

And with that, I think I’m back on top of what’s going on in my garden. There’s lots to do (more weeding, for instance), but at least I know what’s going on, and knowing is half the battle.

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Weeding, Planting Herbs and Waiting

After lunch today I got in about an hour of weeding, mostly in the carrots and around the grape vines. Lot’s of dandelions this year, and something else I haven’t identified yet.

After that, I planted some garlic — I know, I know — it should’ve been in the ground last fall. Hopefully we’ll still get some this year, otherwise I’ll leave them in the ground until next year.  I planted two heads which had been sitting in my fridge for too long and had started to sprout. I’m not sure exactly kind of garlic it was. It was from the grocery store and had sprouted in my fridge after sitting in the bottom drawer for too long.

Thyme, Chives and Basil
Thyme, Chives and Basil

I also planted thyme, chives and basil. I don’t know that I have ever purchased chives, but we planted some a few years ago and they can barely keep up with us eating them now. Thyme we planted because we use it a little bit.

As you can see in the picture below, we had a lot more basil seeds than thyme or chives. The reason? PESTO! Last year we only had one small pesto bush. That was enough for cooking with, but not for making pesto. I planted a 6 foot x6 foot square area with basil today; hopefully that will be enough.

A bag full of basil seeds
A bag full of basil seeds
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