grow on: thai basil

you're at the market. farmers or your local retail vendor, doesn't matter... on the list of items for tonight's very special dinner is fresh {whatever herb you've scrawled on the back of that envelope}. you grab the best bundle of said herb from the bunch and begin to wonder what you will do with the other nineteen tablespoons of fresh herb in hand that are not called for in your recipe.

there are options. first, you could just like not use the rest of it and toss it. [umm. no. that's not really an option. unless you're into receiving virtual side eyes and the like]. second, you could chop it all up and freeze it in wine, oil, or solo - and then use a semi-fresh herb for your next recipe. or third, you could make those babies last forever by cultivating roots and then planting them. since you're wondering, yes. this is all about option three.

hey thelma...

hey thelma...

my recipe called for thai basil, so this is what we're working with today. the four branches that weren't harmed in the making of my dinner, i simply clipped the ends of and placed  in a bit of water inside of a mason jar. next, i placed the jar in my front kitchen window, where i was sure it would get six to seven hours of good sun exposure daily. the little plant went through a few changes initially, being in a new home with new expectations and all. leaves fell, one of the branches completely died off, and there were a few days where i really began to wonder if this little thai basil plant was gonna make it. alas...

about three weeks into this little experiment, i noticed a little change happening with the plant now known as 'thelma.' little budding roots began to sprout from the base of each branch. aww yeah - growth! i decided to wait a moment to allow the roots some time to fully develop before giving her a more permanent home... two weeks more and they'd grown to the point where i went into the kitchen one morning and found them creeping over the top of my mason jar! okay. thelma wanted to move.

so i grabbed a perfect clay pot, just a tad larger than the mason jar she'd come to know and love, complete with butterflies and hearts adorning it. next came an insert, as the clay pot has no drainage holes. i placed several mid-sized rocks at the bottom, to help capture the soil and create sufficient drainage. i am lucky that the soil in my backyard happens to be quite rich, so i placed a layer of my own soil, followed by equally rich compost, also from my backyard, on top of it. thelma was ready to go! we bid her humble mason jar adieu and placed her roots on top of the rich compost and soil bed awaiting her arrival. i covered her roots with a bit more compost, then more soil - to help give her a sense of security and balance in her new home. i used leftover water from the mason jar in the first watering, as i felt it would be a nice housewarming present - a bit of the old with the new, ya know? her new home is now back on the windowsill where my girl is soaking up the sun and seasoning my dishes like she has for the last few weeks since being selected from my local farmer's market. in addition to all the money i am saving, it is awesome always having fresh thai basil on hand. :)


- be sure to keep your new plant happy with lots of water. check it daily for levels and color - if it gets murky, change it out. give the leaves a few light sprays of water, to simulate rain every now and again. they like it.
- prune. prune. and prune. the more you clip off dead leaves, and also actually use the larger leaves in cooking, the more leaves you'll receive in return.
- in the days after potting, make sure that your plant is accepting its new home. keep the soil moist and note any changes in leaf color or die off immediately - if the soil doesn't contain the nutrients that your plant needs, you might want to change it out for a more balanced, rich, and healthy soil.
- you can do this anywhere there is sunlight. in other words, pretty much everywhere. just be sure to keep your plant fairly comfortable at a room temperature between sixty-five and eighty-five degrees farenheit.
- repot into a bigger pot when your roots begin to show above the soil, or through your drainage holes. move up gradually. a little plant in a pot that's too big won't produce much as all of its energy will go into building roots to fill that big pot.
- you can also take your plant straight to the ground, once the roots appear. it all depends on your location. take into consideration the temperature where you are, how much and how heavy the rain in your area is, and be aware any potential pests.
- most of all, enjoy. if you are stressed, your plant will be too. speak to it gently, from time to time. be sure to give it what it lots of what it needs... and that is love.