Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Lee's Homework Assignment

Lee is taking a Herb Horticulture class this semester.

(Herb Horticulture--say that 5 times fast!)

At the Salt Lake Community College Miller Campus, there is a half acre plot of land that they use for this class.  The members of the class prepare the soil, and plant, cultivate, and harvest the herbs.

How cool is that? It's cool, I say.

Lee does have homework for this class though.

He brought home this little guy the other day.

Lee's starter basil plant

Sweet, sweet basil!  It smells divine!

Anyway, his homework with this basil plant is to 1) not kill it, 2) help it flourish, and 3) at the end of the semester, make a dish featuring the herb.

Planting materials

Items 1 and 2 kind of go hand in hand. Lee re-potted his herbie last night.

Adding rocks to the bottom of the pot

He learned a few things about the proper care of basil plants that he shared with me.

First, the soil must be well-drained and allowed to dry out between each watering. That is probably why my previous basil plants have all suffered an untimely death at my hands.

Next the soil

Second, in order to keep it happy between watering, the professor recommended to Lee that he should spritz the leaves of the basil plant every day with a spray bottle. 

Removing the temp pot

Third, basil likes warmer temperatures and needs about 6 hours of sunlight during the day.

Digging a hole for the basil

Lastly, if you want to encourage growth, pinch off the center leaves before it flowers.

Smoothing down the soil

Easy peasy!  (By the way, I took Lee's notes and planted my own basil plants: an Italian Basil, Sweet Basil, and a Globe Basil.  They have been doing smashingly!)

My herbie pots. The basil plants are in the left container.

Lee told me that someone asked in the class, "What if I kill my plant?"

The professor told him that he'd have to buy a new seedling on his own and start over if he had "killed it early enough".  If it died too close to the potluck, he'd have to find the whole, mature herb somewhere.

New home!

The cool thing about this class is the potluck--each person must bring a dish that features his/her herb they have been growing all summer and they get graded on the dish!

The professor warned them that they better get creative with their dishes and told a story about a student who received a basil plant and only made an unimaginative pesto with it.

Naturally, Lee has been thinking about how he can incorporate the basil into his final dish creatively.  He could make my Lemon Basil Layer Cake, but I think the basil takes a back seat to the lemon cream. He mentioned a basil-stuffed chicken breast, which sounded yummy.  He also tossed around the idea of making a basil gelato! Oooh!  That would be fancy!

Does anyone have any fun ideas for Lee to do with his basil?


  1. I'll keep these basil tips in mind. I ALWAYS kill basil plants. Always. I don't know why I keep trying. I've already finished one off this summer. (And it's technically not even summer yet!) I love the combination of basil and strawberries. It sounds weird, but wrapping a fresh strawberry in a fresh basil leaf and eating them together is delicious! Maybe he can try a dish with that combination? Just a thought. :)

  2. Basil is one of the very best things about summer! You'll have to let us know what he makes...

  3. One great thing to do with Basil is to toss it with stone fruit. I know it sounds simple, but it tastes really good and you can really taste the basil. Perhaps a basil and fruit pie?

    1. Hmm...that does sound good! I will pass the idea on to Lee.


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