Grow, Baby, Grow

July 28, 2010 · 15 comments · Print This Post

in Garden / Crafty

First of all, today is Dexter’s birthday. Happy Birthday Dexter! He’s either two or three depending on which vet you believe. I started off this morning by giving him a hefty handful of catnip from his own personal stash. Needless to say he was in heaven.

Anyway, it’s been a very long hot few weeks culminating in the reality that we have to move yet again. Yes, after only living in the loft for four months it was sold and we’re up to our eyeballs in boxes, packing tape, and bubble wrap. Thankfully though our new home will have proper cupboards, doors, and glorious central air. I fully intend to keep the house at arctic levels for the foreseeable future.

In the meantime though check out my plants! They’ve been growing like crazy in this East Coast heat wave. The basil is crawling the walls. This image was taken over a week ago. I can’t use it fast enough. What are your favorite recipes that include basil? I fear I’m going to end up drowning in pesto unless someone gives me some killer ideas.

I know I fretted about the tomato plants I purchased but they’ve really (excuse the pun) risen to the occasion. CK and I have harvested dozens and dozens of sweet small ruby red tomatoes. Almost every day there are more waiting to be picked when I arrive home from work. Sometimes I even find them rolling around on the balcony. It’s beyond exciting knowing that I actually grew something edible.

Amusingly enough, the above Cherry tomatoes are actually ripe and ready for your salad bowl. I kept waiting and waiting for them to turn red and then eventually I noticed that they were starting to burst because they were over ripened. Oops… Orange is the new red I guess?

The parsley and cilantro are growing in a great tangled mass more suitable for a scary story than a window box, but they still do their seasoning trick. I do have one additional gardening question though. The cilantro is sprouting small white flowers. Should I just pinch them off? Or is there something else I can do to stop this flowering process?

Poor Watson is still working through his balcony anxieties. He likes to keep his little paws on the most solid areas of the outdoor world. So while Dexter roams at will, Watson tends to sit on the neighbor’s doormat. I suppose that’s a start.

The next container garden update will be from our new home and deck. Wish us luck!

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Hänni July 28, 2010 at 11:58 am

Your garden is growing gangbusters! Happy birthday Dex and smootchies to you as well, Watsy-Poo (AKA scaredy cat)


2 Pam July 28, 2010 at 1:25 pm

Just pinch the flowers off. When the other herbs start to flower, do it to them as well. My cilantro went straight to flowering, and it has barely any leaves at all (in fact, it looks more like dill than cilantro, although it tastes right).


3 Theresa July 28, 2010 at 1:49 pm

Your deck garden looks great! I always end up with too much basil too. I’m going to try freezing some this year so I have it to use over the winter. Good luck with the big move!


4 Julia Barrett July 28, 2010 at 3:46 pm

Gorgeous! My cilantro did that, too. I think I just waited too long to harvest it. Now it just won’t grow right. Ah, not a big fan anyway. I have a good use for basil and tomatoes…Orzo Salad….slice/chiffonade as much basil you can stand, 1-2 cups if you love it as much as I do, to balance it out, chiffonade some baby spinach as well, about 1-2 cups. Pour freshly cooked orzo over the chiffonade of basil and spinach, don’t fully drain it, it must be hot and still have some of the cooking water to wilt the basil and spinach. Then toss in halved cherry or grape tomatoes and whatever seasoning you like…olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon juice, lemon zest, olives, feta. I usually use a couple generous pinches of kosher salt, olive oil and the juice and zest of two lemons. Serve warm, room temperature or cold. yum. Have fun!


5 Steph July 28, 2010 at 7:46 pm

Happy Birthday Dexter!

I killed my basil. Not sure if it was the heat or I just suck at growing it. I might try again.


6 A Plum By Any Other Name July 28, 2010 at 10:13 pm

Very impressive garden you’ve grown. I have basil envy.

Hmm. Now what to do with that basil. I’ve made herb ice cream before, with a combo of mint, basil, a tiny bit of rosemary, and pretty much cream/half and half; it was great. As a last resort, pesto freezes beautifully. Good luck!


7 Amanda July 29, 2010 at 8:32 am

The flowers mean that your cilantro has bolted and is preparing to set seeds. This happened because it has been so hot — cilantro only likes cool weather. As far as I know the process can’t be reversed and I also think that the flavor is altered. If you let the seeds set though it should seed itself for next year and you’ll have perpetual cilantro — my mother had cilantro that way for years.


8 karen j July 29, 2010 at 9:49 am

Those little tomatoes are great on the grill- gives them a very sweet taste.


9 EB July 29, 2010 at 4:46 pm

Happy Birthday Dexter!!!


10 my little expat kitchen July 30, 2010 at 7:09 am

Hello there, just discovered your blog through Saveur.
I love your cats! They look so cute. I also love the look of those tomatoes, especially the orange ones. I wish I had a garden…


11 melissa July 30, 2010 at 6:49 pm

Really enjoy your blog but have to say feel sad that you allow your beautiful kitties wander the streets of Cambridge. It is a known fact that outdoor cats have a life span half that of indoor cats. As a vet with a practice that focuses on cats, I treat far too many cats injured from unnecessary outdoor excursions.


12 Erin July 30, 2010 at 6:52 pm

Melissa – Thank you for your note. My cats actually are indoor cats. We only allow them to sit and sun themselves on our balcony when we’re there. I can assure you they’ve never stepped foot upon the “mean streets” of Cambridge.


13 joan July 30, 2010 at 10:00 pm

Hope you have a great move! I know how stressful that can be. But, it is fun to organize a new place. Keep telling yourself that! 🙂
I am just starting to get tomatoes on my two plants. Love, love, love it!!!


14 Shannon August 1, 2010 at 4:01 pm

oh no! sorry you had to move, i know you were really liking your new space :/ Look at all that bounty! those maters look lovely 🙂


15 Jesselyn August 2, 2010 at 12:27 am

The basil & cilantro would be great for topping thai-style curries (easy to make with a store bought curry paste & a can of coconut milk). Can’t believe you’re getting ready to move already!


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