Green and Purple

Basil goes well with almost anything. You can use it as a garnish in Thai food, as a topping in pizza, throw it in a sandwich, and make a broth out of it for a soup. With great  versatility comes great variety, as there are more than 50 different kinds of basil plants. I already knew of Thai, sweet, and Genovese basil, which I assume are the most widely grown and consumed, but yesterday my father came home with a PURPLE seedling!!! At first I assumed it was some strain of eggplant or perhaps Pak Choi. But no, it was in fact a purple strain of basil. The bed I planted these little guys in had been out of use for a while and was still full of native soil, which, in Fremont, CA, has a very high clay content. After digging all of it out of the bed, I began to break up the clay into smaller and smaller pieces so that the roots have an easier time making their way down. If you look at the picture to the left, the soil dug out of the bed is just a bunch of clay chunks rather than traditional dirt. If only I had a shovel while doing all those art projects in elementary. I could’ve saved so much time and money making trips to Michaels to buy air-dry clay. The clay in my backyard even stays moist for longer periods of time, allowing you more time to model. Sorry, I digress. This is beginning to sound like an advertisement…but I’ll add it to my list of potential business ventures. Anyyyway, I began to layer the bed with bat guano, yes that’s bat poo, compost, earthworm castings, and then more clay soil. After two servings of this combination, I covered the bed in top-soil and began to mark off the spots to put in each of the basil plants. Looking at the picture to the right, in the front half of the planting bed, I’ve planted one purple basil, one Thai basil, and two sweet basils. Or is the plural of basil still basil? On the rear half of the planting bed, I planted six Genovese. Now that I have made a proper soil mixture, I won’t have to worry about mucking through all that clay when I replant the bed and can instead use it as inventory for my new clay business!

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