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Dishin' the dirt from the garden and beyond

Barefooting just got a new name.

July is a perfect time in the garden.  Things are growing; weeds are manageable (thanks to mulch); flowers are deadheaded and tomatoes and squash tied up.  It’s time to grab a beverage, kick your shoes off, find a nice spot in the grass and enjoy the weather.

At a recent reunion, I was explaining this enjoyment of the garden to an old schoolmate.  “Oh,” she said, “you were earthing.”  What?  She went on to explain that the Earth has energy and connecting to the earth promotes good health.  Really? Seriously?  You have to “call” it something.  

“Look it up!” she said grabbing her smart phone. “They even sell copper yoga mats to help you connect.”  
Ugh!  Why do they have to take every simple pleasure in life and commercialize it?  I thought I was simply enjoying my garden… now I’m ‘earthing.’  The worst part is that when I was walking around barefoot in my nice thick grass last night, I couldn’t get that WORD out of my mind.  No, I’m not earthing, I’m enjoying.  I’m not transferring electrons, I’m wiggling my toes.  

The thing is that no matter how angry I got at the world for stripping simple pleasures, I could not help but feel calmed.  That’s what my garden does, that’s what walking barefoot in grass does.  We don’t have to ‘call’ it anything.  We just do it because it feels good.

So maybe this weekend when the humidity is thick and the lake is cool, I will take my towel down to the beach.  Strip down to a bathing suit, kick off the flip flops and have some kids bury me in the sand up to my neck.  That ought to transfer some electrons!

What are you doing to ‘earth?”

Basil goes from bust to boom

I thought my basil crop was going to be a near failure this season. I planted them in cool weather that later dipped into the upper 30s, turning the tips of the leaves brown.The survived, but hardly thrived. Then some pest or another started making dotted holes on them. One of the plants, a basil perpetua in the window box, wasn't getting enough drainage to handle the downpours and started to look like a goner.
But just when I was starting to think it was time to start over with fresh plants, they turned the corner. Whatever pest was munching on leaves moved on. A stretch of hot sunny days brought on a flurry of growth and dried out the poor basil perpetua to the point it perked up again.

And, more surprisingly, the basil multiplied.

I've always been a little lax late in the season about topping my basil, so some of it goes to flower. Usually there's plenty of basil to keep up with household needs so I have to keep remembering to harvest enough to make pesto to freeze. (I know, such a problem to have...) So I'm sure every year there have been seeds sown, but this is the first time I've ever been so lucky as to have basil volunteer. I nearly pulled the first seedling, assuming it was a weed, but realized it had the telltale basil shape, and the leaves smelled of basil. Then there was another one, and another one. Some are the standard variety; others are the Thai basil kind.

I'm not sure what brought on this sudden burst of volunteerism, since we've been planting more or less the same varieties for years and in the same trough planter. But I'll take it. Luckily, my tomatoes are just now coming ripe to pair with all that basil.Lots of caprese salads, pesto sauce and a basil hefeweizen in our future.

What's your basil story been like this season? Got any surprise volunteer plants in your garden this year? (I'm also having a bumper crop of painted ferns sprouting randomly for some reason. Maybe all the rains?) And what's your favorite way to use basil?

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