Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Dead Plants, Basil, and the Toyota Prius

See the little shoots in the center of the dirt there?  That's real live basil.

Even though it's May, this is already my second attempt at basil this year.

I grew basil last year from a small plant that I'd picked up at our local big Lowes hardware store late May or early June.  It looked good most of June, but I spent the better part of July trying to pinch off bolted flowery parts and by the end of July, early August I'd just given up and called it a loss.

So much for my dreams of a lovely homegrown basil and tomato salad--it was gone before the tomatoes even started producing in earnest.

I can't say if the lesson is:
  1. "don't buy plants at Lowes," or 
  2. "learn something about caring for basil, why don't you?" or 
  3. "it's a wild world out there and things happen--this is gardening, get used to it!"

    But now it's a new year and, this year as I was cruising the produce aisle in the grocery store and they were selling basil.  In pots.  With roots.

    "What's the worst thing that could happen?" I asked.

    I brought one home and stuck it into a pot of dirt alongside some cilantro and let Rose arrange them in the sun.  (Rose is very big on order and also thinks of things that wouldn't have occurred to me).

    They maybe lasted about 3 days before wilting straight to their doom.

    Lessons learned:
    1. Hardening off is not a bad idea
    2. Produce aisle herbs were not born for the outside world--don't be fooled by roots and dirt, these are just for show so the herbs can feel good about themselves.
     So, undaunted, I dug around in the ziplock of seeds in my freezer and found the 3 packets of Toyota Prius organic basil seeds I had stuck there in the summer of 2008.

    Now, I know Toyota and fresh Italian herbs don't normally get passed around together, but the connection is, of course, Green Marketing.

    In 2008 Rose and my stepson and I went into the city to entertain ourselves at a big marketing festival.  We got Blackberry reusable shopping bags, Egg Beaters measuring cups, samples of Pillsbury cake and Rose and I each got our picture taken with the Pillsbury Doughboy (strangely, my stepson declined).

    Not to be outdone (not that they could really match the Doughboy, but they did try), Toyota had a trailer with games and movies on hybrid technology focusing on the utter fabulousness of the Prius.  Rose got a pencil made from recycled blue jeans and a tree planted in her name.  My stepson and I each got battery free flashlights, neither of which is currently working.  And all of us got packets of organic basil seeds.

    So, back to 2010--even without my track record of dead basil, I wasn't really all that optimistic that 2008 Toyota basil seeds would grow.

    But, "what's the worst thing that could happen?" I asked.

    With little to lose, about a week ago I sprinkled them on top and some under the soil from a dead African violet that used to be in that pot and...

    Surprise--I have basil!

    No comments:

    Post a Comment