Sunday, August 3, 2008

Day 114 / Day 22 - Oh there ain't no bugs on me, there ain't no bugs on me...oh wait, my bad.

Now, as you've been reading the basil garden has been pretty much self-sufficient for some time now. A few days ago, I checked on it. I looked a little more closely, and I noticed there were tiny dots on the leaves. As an old "outdoor gardener", I pretty much knew what they were right away. The dreaded aphid.

For those of you who don't know about aphids, they are little critters the size of a pin that attach themselves to leaves and then suck and suck and suck the liquid so much they turn green themselves. That's right, aphids really suck.

I'd been expecting this day for a long time. The funny thing is, I'd taken precautions. I kept the Aerogarden far, far away from any of my houseplants, far, far away from any open windows, and even on the other side of the room as the other Aerogarden.

So, I can only imagine the amazing journey these little aphids made against all odds to get to my basil garden. I can imagine the adventrous band making the arduous journey a la Lawrence of Arabia through the Nefud Desert, crawling day and night in 90 degree heat over dry hardwood floors and glass coffee tables and electronics equipment to arrive at their destination--the oasis of green that was my International Basil garden.

Well, I pondered this fantastic accomplishment for a good ten seconds, and then I promptly took them to the sink and gave the basil leaves a nice long shower under the spray. The nice thing about aphids is that they're not very good at hanging on to leaves, so a nice little shower will send them all down the drain for good.

While I knew this already from my previous experience tending houseplants, I was actually quite impressed that the Aerogarden manual is so complete that it gives just the right advice for this situation. Admittedly, the first thing that crossed my mind was to invite a bunch of ladybugs in, who love munching on aphids (this is what I used to do when I had an outdoor garden), but of course, after that I'd have to invite a bunch of birds to munch on the ladybugs, and so on until I end up with an apartment full of goats.

During the basil bath, I ended up damaging a couple of the basil stalks, because the basil was really overgrown at this point. So I decided to do a massive harvest. I harvested four cups of clean leaves and washed them really, really well.

My once glorious Basil Aerogarden, of course, looked like this...somewhat like what my brother and I used to look like when our dad gave us haircuts as kids.

I decided to use a new recipe for pesto from Bon Appetit magazine, the main reason being it was the only recipe that called for four cups of basil. Among other things, the recipe calls for the pesto to be made in a blender.

I was skeptical at first, and ended up with this...

Then I was really skeptical. While it tasted good enough, it didn't look a thing like what pesto is supposed to look like, and the taste didn't compare to how great the original basil pesto recipe I used was. The word "pesto" in Italian means "pounded", not "liquified". Good thing for me to remember for the future.

Anyway, I think this was probably one of the last hurrahs for the basil Aerogarden. I figure a margherita pizza, maybe another tomato soup, and then I'll be retiring the basil and replacing it with something else.

No comments: