Tag Archives: basil

Gardens Grow Even When the Gardener is Away

Basil - picked - mlm c

This is a lot of basil.

Whether you are at home or away, your garden keeps growing. On Monday evening, I returned from a wonderful visit with my daughter. Even though I was gone less than a week, I could see a lot of growth in my tiny garden. The basil had grown far too tall — one stem was trying to bolt, so I immediately pinched off that flower bud. The rosemary is getting tall, too. It will soon need trimming. My spaghetti squash plant had produced a new baby squash.

The next morning, I cut back the basil. The above photo shows how much I got from only 3 plants. This container is one of those buckets that you put ice into for keeping bottled and canned drinks cold during a party or cookout. It was running over with basil. That’s a lot of basil.

Normally, I wouldn’t cut more than 3 inches or so from any herb plant at any one time. This basil was so very overgrown, I decided to go ahead and remove a lot more than that. I don’t recommend doing that on a routine basis, because it really isn’t good for the plant. I had planned to begin a new painting today, but it looks  like I’m going to be busy drying and grinding basil this week. On the other hand, it will keep. I need to paint.

Pests on Basil

Basil with Worm - mlm c

The spaghetti squash and zucchini had trails of slug slime on the leaves, but no damage I could find. One of the basil leaves that I cut and brought into the house had this worm on it. It’s the same pest that was on Gina’s basil. Fortunately, this one was already dead from the insecticidal soap I had sprayed the evening I arrived home. Yeah, that black spot is what you think it is — he left me a little present, just like my dog does.

The Mandevilla Grew Rapidly While I Was Away

Two years ago, I planted a mandevilla on the screened end of our lanai, with the hope that it would someday provide privacy to that room. It quickly outgrew the small trellis I had chosen. The following summer, it was attacked by mealy bugs which nearly destroyed it. When it recovered, it grew at the top of the trellis, but didn’t put out new leaves on the lower part. The top part got longer and longer while simultaneously becoming top heavy.

Mandevilla on Trellis - mlm c

It became apparent that that trellis had to be replaced. We installed one of the ones you see in this photo, and I quickly saw I would soon need two more, one on each side of the first one. Those two were installed about three weeks ago (the one in this photo is one of them) but most of the vines were not quite long enough to stay wrapped around the trellis bars. Well, they are now!

When I returned from my trip I was amazed at how much they had grown. So I have now spent a lot of time on a step-stool untangling those high-up vines. It was like separating strands of cooked spaghetti. It looks so much better now, and I know that with the air being able to get to those formerly crowded vines, they will truly blossom. Pun intended.

Here’s a close-up view of one of those gorgeous flowers. It’s a new one that just opened. Notice how much lighter the pink color is when the flower first opens. In the photo above, you can see the difference between the older flowers and the newer ones.

Mandevilla - New Bloom - mlm c

Bracelet Fun

I finally finished that bracelet I was working on during my trip. There’s a close up photo of it on my last blog post. It’s at the top right in this photo. Except for the five-strand one designed by my daughter, these are my designs. She has far more intricate designs in her Etsy shop. Here’s the link: Designs by LolaBelle.

Bracelets I Made

I used to make prayer beads and pocket rosaries, along with the occasional bracelet, but am out of practice. I don’t have the grip I once had, and my vision isn’t what it once was. That made this tedious work more difficult. Without her help, I probably wouldn’t have finished these. Maybe I should stick to gardening, writing, and painting. Here are the bracelets I made — my favorites are the top two. The tiny green and white one is for our youngest granddaughter’s 5th birthday. It’s made of Swarovski crystals and pearls.  Okay, it’s time to get back to gardening. No, I’m going to paint. I plan to do a painting of the pink double hibiscus outside our back door. I think I will get something to eat first, though.

 

What’s Eating My Basil?

Gina's Basil copyrighted

My friend and neighbor, Gina, texted me some photos of her basil leaves this week. Unfortunately, the first one didn’t come in right away, so I saw only the 2nd and 3rd ones until just now. The above photo (the 2nd one to arrive) shows leaves with holes in them. The 3rd photo, below, shows a worm or caterpillar on a basil leaf. Here’s that little critter:

Gina's Basil Worm copyrighted

My Suggestion: insecticidal soap

Insecticidal Soap

GardenSafe is the brand I use, and is the same photo I texted back to Gina. Normally, I use Neem Oil because it doesn’t wash off  with rain, but this time of year it is so hot around here, the oil melts and slides right off the plants. Both of these products are safe to use on vegetable plans as well as flowers. I insist on organic gardening in my kitchen garden, and these products are perfect for that. The only down-side of the soap is that, after a rain, you will need to spray again. I got this insecticidal soap at Lowe’s, and my Neem Oil at Ace Hardware, but most any good garden center should have them.

Because I missed that first photo — it was late arriving in my in-box —  I didn’t see the whitish squiggly things that Gina mentioned, and told her it was probably mealy bugs. Now that I have seen it, I see I was wrong. The squiggles she mentioned appear to be trails left behind by slugs. For more information see my April 20, 2015, post entitled, Amy Asks What to Do About Snails.

Something weird is going on in cyberspace yet again:  I emailed all the photos to myself to get them on the computer, and again, the same one is the only one that hasn’t shown up yet. Those white squiggles Gina mentioned can be seen in the top photo above on part of a leaf showing out from the main one with holes in it. Looks like slug trails to me.