Basil for a year … Almost Free

John and I go through a lot of basil.  I use it in all my tomato based dishes, from pizza to spaghetti, and all my sauces and salads.  I also use it for pesto, and basil oil and vinegar.  This is a great tip for having basil all year long for just a dollar or maybe two.

In the Spring, go to a farmers market or fresh food store and purchase one bundle of fresh basil.  When you get it home, carefully pinch off all of the lower leaves and branches, leaving only one or two leaves and the center small leaves on each stem.  Next, cut off the bottom 1/2 inch from each stem and put the stripped stems into a glass or jar of fresh water.  Set them into a window where they will get some light, but not in direct sun.  Continue reading »

Plant a Sharing Garden

Gardening is a craft and one that often gets overlooked, especially in urban and suburban areas. With the economy doing as badly as it is, and spring rapidly approaching it is time for all of us to consider putting in some vegetable plants this year. I’d like nothing better than to start a gardening movement all over the United States in urban and suburban neighborhoods.
Here is the idea. You all have that small strip of land between the sidewalk and the street in your front yards. It is a hard spot to landscape, either because of the trees, or neighborhood rules. But… what a perfect place for a small crop of vegetables. I am challenging everyone to plant that strip into vegetables this spring. Not just for yourself, but for anyone that happens to walk by. Think of what a blessing this could be to your neighbors. When the crop is ready for harvest, just put up a small sign that invites passers by to help themselves, but to leave some for others.
In addition, find a small sunny spot in your side or back yard, or in some containers on your deck or balcony and plant some of your favorites just for you and your family. You would be surprised how much you can save on your grocery bills by planting a garden and canning or freezing your own produce. In addition, you can produce an organic crop and be sure your family has all the fresh produce without any fear of pesticides or disease.
If you read this, and decide to plant a sharing garden, please encourage all your friends and family to plant one as well. Share this idea with your neighbors, your city officials, and in your blogs. If enough people in enough neighborhoods plant a small sharing garden, then all of us will benefit. Think how nice it would be to take a walk around your block and select a tomato from one garden, some greens from another… perhaps a cucumber… you get the picture. No one needs a lot of acreage to have a community garden.
I hope many of you will take up this challenge, and then share photos of your garden as it grows. All of us can do something to help our neighbors and ourselves through these tough economic times. It is just about getting started and encouraging others to do the same.