Friday, July 17, 2009

Big, Juicy Arapaho Blackberries

The garden is suffering some neglect of late, as I am busy studying for the NY bar exam. What joy! But, even if the rest of the garden is unfit for viewing, these Arapaho blackberries have ripened to a big, gorgeous black. I never really expected them to get this big, but they did, and are firm too. That is, firm enough for easy transportation and plucking without terrible squashing accidents, but still plenty soft for juicy smushing in one's mouth. I suppose they are the perfect blackberry for shipping in mass fruit production. The only drawback for this variety seems to be that far fewer berries grow on the canes compared to the Lochness blackberries. I had thought about removing them and replacing them with more Lochness, but now that I've tasted them, and enjoyed nice big fruit a full month after the Lochness were done, I don't think I have the heart to get rid of them. Maybe having a variety of plants is best, so I can enjoy a little bit from the garden throughout the entire season.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Big Bowl of Window Basil

I don't post about my indoor window boxes often, but that doesn't mean they don't manage to produce quite a bounty! Every year, every season, I can count on an enormous basil harvest. Maybe I'm just lucky and my southeast facing windows get plenty of sun, but I'm able to grow bumper crop basil from seed, even in the winter. The plants may grow a little slower in the winter, but they still grow pretty enormous. I like having a basil forest in my window, since it filters the light a nice shade of green through the leaves. Forgot to take a picture before plucking it bare though! This heaping bowl of basil's going to make some nice home grown pesto...

Basil grows better for me than indoor lettuce, or even arugula. In fact, I really struggle with indoor lettuce, as it always seems to be pale and straggly. Go figure! This all just goes to show that you never know what will or will not succeed until you try it. Conventional wisdom be damned! My only tip for successfully growing basil indoors are to pinch the leaves a couple times early on, to encourage bushier growth. Otherwise, the basil will just grows straight up on 1 stalk. I can grow 2-3 plants in a 30" window box, but all of this basil came from 1 bushy plant growing alone. One squirt of diluted fish emulsion fertilizer will help, though I only do this once or twice a year.