This past weekend, as I was walking through the grocery store, an enticing, overwhelming aroma toyed with my senses. The fragrance of summer stimulated every olfactory gland in my nose while simultaneously filling my brain with thoughts of tomatoes and pasta and French bread. But I couldn't place it - we were smack in the middle of the cruel month of February and this Essence of Sunshine and Warmth was unmistakably out of place. As I searched in a desperate attempt to match the aroma to it's producer, I glanced to my right and discovered rows and rows of fresh, organic basil, root balls still attached. I quickly grabbed a bouquet, burried my nose in it's leaves, and inhaled one of the sweetest scents nature can produce. Without further contemplation, I placed the little treasure in my cart and proceeded home as quickly as possible. For the low price of $2.49, that basil was going to adorn sandwiches and spaghetti and anything else I could imagine. What I really craved, however, was Granny's little tomato, a slice of fresh mozzerella, and heaps of that basil piled on a slice of just-baked french bread. With, perhaps, just a little drizzle of balsamic vinegar.
But, alas, it just wasn't meant to be. I couldn't bring myself to purchase the tomatoes from the grocery store - I knew they'd only disappoint. They simply weren't worthy of my prized basil.. which, sadly, also ended up disappointing. The basil made it to a few delicious sandwiches, but it faded fast despite the care I took to wrap it in damp paper towels to store in my refrigerator. My spaghetti dream evaporated quickly, and it will be months before my home-grown basil and tomatoes will be ready to harvest.
On the bright side, I have 5 baby basil seedlings that are ready to be transplanted this weekend. I'm beginning to doubt whether or not that will be enough to feed my voracious appetite for this lovely herb. I'll need enough for pesto and sauces, and I'd like to try drying my own this year. Perhaps I'll go ahead and start some more seedlings this weekend - I suppose it's better to have too many than not enough.. Does that phrase get you in trouble as often as it gets me in trouble? ;-)
"Spare" time this weekend will also be used to transplant looseleaf lettuce, more buttercrunch, pak choi, and carrots. I'll also direct sow more of the same, as well as a few more peas. I guess it's about time to start some bell pepper and tomato seeds, so my goal (and I use the term loosely) will be to start a new flat of seeds after I've completing transplanting the current seedlings. I'm also expecting the arrival of a new set of pasta attachments for my Beloved Kitchenaid Mixer today. Hopefully I can postpone the distraction it's certain to provide long enough to complete my garden chores - wish me luck!