(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.
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.
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?