Farewell 'til next season

basilFew things in life are better than fresh basil. The leaves themselves are slightly bitter and oozing with juicy volatile goodness.

Every season, we plant a few seedlings, clip them as if they were a bonsai and end the season with spindly plants that flower and achieve low yields of the leaves we tried so hard to foster. This season was quite different. Instead of this "depression era mentality" of saving it all for the end, I started harvesting leaves as soon as they were available. From anywhere and not caring about the plant's future. I wanted the basil and I wasn't going to let them go to seed.

Interestingly, the more I tore off, the more they grew. In the beginning of the season (end of May, I started harvesting), I used scissors to get my fix. Then, as days got busier and dinner prep time grew shorter for one reason or another, I attacked the plant and just ripped off the leaves. And, they just kept growing - robustly. We now have 3 basil shrubs outside with more tasty leaves than we've ever had before. My friend Gary who's an extraordinary gardener, was amazed. He kept asking how carefully I harvested the leaves and I told him I just kind of attacked it. He was stunned. I am a total basil fanatic now and have grown a new appreciation of this robust herb. It'll kill me to see them wither on the first frost. But, next season, they're going in early and I'm tearing in quickly. Can't wait.