Wow! What a beautiful weekend! Cool fall weather has arrived!
I continue to get bowlfuls of tomatoes–so many I’ve had to freeze several gallons because I can’t use them fast enough. They should be wonderful mid-winter. This week, I added a few tomatillos to my bowl. Unfortunately, there isn’t an overabundance of them because the tomatillo plant hasn’t looked too healthy all summer and I haven’t had time to look up what the cause might be.
I’ve noticed lots of bugs around the garden this summer including particularly large clouds of mosquitos. I was also surprised at how many unusual little guys I started to see when I looked more closely.
There have also been a bumper crop of spiders including an adventurous orb weaver whose web stretched from the peak of our roof to a high branch of the magnolia tree. I spotted it one night when I was out with a flashlight checking for raccoons. Then there are these guys who make picking tomatoes a challenge. I don’t want to disturb them!
I have one final hosta blooming and it’s an interesting one at that. I like the extra little flares under each flower bud. The variety is called “Rockets Red Glare” and it has fairly erect leaves with red stems. It’s a nice one!
And finally, a round up of basil varieties. Basil is one thing that grows well in my garden, so I grow a lot of it and turn it into mass quantities of pesto. I’ve had fun trying different varieties over the years. I’ve discovered that I don’t like the super licorice-y, super spicy varieties like cinnamon basil or Thai spice basil, though a little bit of it is great and a whole bunch of different flavors together make really good pesto. Like the tomatoes, these seeds came from Baker Creek. They are:
My new favorite. It’s got a little spice and solid flavor, but isn’t overpowering.
From the catalog: New! Really interesting and flavorful! Known as Reyhan throughout the varied nations of southwestern Asia. Has a distinctive aroma, both lemony and spice like.
I’ve done lemon basil in the past and this is very similar, but I think I like it better. John also liked it a lot with tomatoes and fresh mozzarella. It’s very citrusy and adds some nice flavor variety if I mix it in with leaves from other basils. I think it tastes more lemony than limey. The small leaves means it takes longer to get a nice pile.
This one has pretty green and purple leaves and a nice flavor. I tried growing a purple basil a couple years ago and the dark color seemed to mean that it got fried in the sun before it amounted to much. With this basil, I can get a little color variation. It’s spicier than the Persian, but pleasantly so.
From the catalog: New! Mediterranean heirloom type from Napoleon’s island birthplace off the French and Italian coasts. This versatile type comes in varying degrees of green to purple, often spectacularly mottled in both. A competent culinary type that makes a scintillating contribution in the border as well. Recommended!
Both of these have been staples in my garden for several years now. Lettuce leaf has bold, sweet, citrusy, mildly spicy flavor while Genovese is smoother, flatter, and blends well with others. They’re not this summer’s absolute favorites, but they’re good to have as part of the mix.
This is the one variety that I definitely won’t do again. The flavor is a sweet, fruity (but not completely citrusy), spicy (but not completely licorice-y) blend that’s wonderfully complex but I just don’t like it. The leaves are thick and fuzzy. It looks like the same type of basil that my friend Jane brought to work last week saying that if you eat the leaves it’s supposed to improve your mood.
From the catalog: New! (Ocimum basilicum) Vigorous plant with dense spikes of light purple flowers enclosed in showy deep purple bracts, making for an especially fine appearance in pots or in the garden. Heavy fragrance with spicy vanilla overtones that makes a pleasant contribution to both fruit salads and savory dishes.