Friday Night Photos: Trimming Basil and Tomatoes (2010 Garden Update #8)
This has been a trimming week in the garden. First I trimmed my basil plants and ended up with a big bucket of basil, which I used to make Basil Lemon Pesto (recipe coming.) If you trim the basil plants, they bush out and produce much more basil. If I get more basil than I can use from a trimming, I just freeze the basil to use in soup and pasta sauce during the winter.
This is how the basil plants looked after they were trimmed, so you can tell they were pretty bushy before trimming!
I also trim my tomato plants a few times every gardening season. Once a branch gets two bunches of tomatoes, I snip it off above the second bunch, and of course the branches that don’t have any tomatoes also get trimmed. Trimming makes the tomatoes ripen more quickly and produce bigger fruit. If you want to read more, here’s a good post about Pruning Tomatoes from Fine Gardening.
Thanks to Nate, I grew a few tomatoes from seeds this year for the very first time. A late-season snowstorm killed some of the plants, but I still have three that are flourishing, and it looks like I’m getting some Berkeley Tie-Dye Tomatoes. (Thanks again Nate!)
This year I’m growing these little Thai eggplants called Kermit eggplant for the first time. (This is a super close-up photo, so this little guy is only a few inches wide so far.)
For a few years now I’ve been growing cucumber plants inside some of my old tomato cages. The cages keep the cukes up off the ground and make it easy to spot them. I’m starting to get 1-2 cucumbers every couple of days now. (Yaay, Greek Salad!)
I also cut a nice big bucket of kale this week, and after looking at quite a few recipes, I think this one is the Raw Kale Salad I want to try first.
So that’s what’s been going on in my garden this week. What’s growing at your house?
(If you want to see other garden updates from this year, you can click the label 2010 Garden Updates.)
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36 Comments on “Friday Night Photos: Trimming Basil and Tomatoes (2010 Garden Update #8)”
Crystal, you can definitely trim the basil even though it's started to flower. Trim the flowering part off first, and throw it away. Then trim the stem down lower and freeze or use that basil. I have frozen mint too, using the same method I use for freezing basil, but I will say I find the frozen mint a lot less useful in cooking than the frozen basil.
I had no idea I had to prune the basil! Is it too late once it begins to flower to do so? I have more than I could eat on my own right now, so I will freeze some too. Can you freeze mint?
Patrice, you're so welcome! Hope you enjoy that basil all winter long.
I can't thank you enough for the basil-freezing instructions. My garden is just bursting with basil and after trimming it this morning I found your method. It was so great to fill those little tupperwares with basil for the winter. Thanks!!
Sugar sounds like you're having fun growing things. Trimming will make quite a difference, especially on the herbs!
I have a small windowsill herb thingy..I have had basil and chives so far. Oh and some dill. mmmm
I have several tomato plants on my patio, that have given me lots of tiny cherry tomatoes. I love them!
Just the happy feeling being able to grow something is awesome!
I need to remember to trim my plants though..never thought of that 🙂
Nate, me too! I think I'm still a few weeks away from having a ripe one, but I'll report on it when one gets ripe!
Yay! I hope those BTD tomatoes taste as good as the ones you had at Chez Panisse.
Jeanne, the pruning will make quite a difference; give it a try!
Beth, thanks for that! I must try it myself, I have a Penguin to make the soda water so it would be a great summer drink for me!
Update on the basil syrup. Tried it last night using Splenda granulated. Tasted wonderful. Great with plain seltzer water. Now its a South Beach recipe!
Yikes – I'm a bad mother to my basil and my tomatoes… Not nearly enough pruning! Very envious of your beautiful kale!
Sally, don't give up. There's a lot to learn about gardening re: location, soil conditions, watering, fertilizing, etc. Just keep trying.
On my next life, I want to be a good gardener.
In this life, I'm afraid there's no hope for me…. 🙁
(you would shed tears if I sent you a photo of my basil and the three tomato plants)
Amy, so glad to hear that my tips are useful for you. I'm not an expert, but I have been growing a garden for quite a few years now so hopefully I've learned a few things!
I love your tips, Kalyn. It really helps novice gardeners like me. I need to trim my basil and make pesto. If we ever get any tomatoes I'll trim them too. I'm hoping for a late crop. 🙂
Thanks Beth. I wouldn't make it with the sugar, but maybe you could use Splenda instead, will give it a try. It does sound good with the sparkling water!