Jen and I decided to cut back our basil plants and make pesto sauce. On the right side of the photo above is the pile of basil after harvest. The photo below shows the basil after it was stripped from the plants, washed, blanched and squeezed of excess water. Hard to believe that so much basil could be packed into such a small bag. It made a lot of pesto, though.
The basil that Jen planted in front of our house is booming. On the far left is a bushy Thai basil plant; the other three are sweet basil. The mint and cilantro died because the basil shaded them too much. There is some lemon grass behind the basil on the far right of the garden.
In this photo the basil is a bit beat up by a recent rain storm. Though I use the basil several times a week, I can’t keep up with it. I’ve been meaning to make pesto for some time though it is a more time intensive process with a mortar and pestle instead of a food processer.
We’re not the only ones who love the basil. The neighbors’ chickens like to hide under the plants, driving our cat crazy. As in this photo, he sits at the door and prepares to pounce. He’s gotten out and chased the chickens away but hasn’t caught one yet.
Peace Corps Benin promotes a few ‘cross-sectoral’ initiatives that overlap the Health, Business, Environment and Education programs we have here. One of the cross-sectoral areas is Moringa. The tree grows throughout the tropics and sub-tropics. Its leaves are extremely nutritious for human consumption and its various parts have a wide variety of other uses including fattening livestock, purifying water, and fertilizing crops. Although known to many people, the tree is somewhat underutilized, and we are encouraged to promote its use. One of my workplaces is a small farm that primarily sells livestock. I always park my bike near the turkey pen. The other day they were using moringa to fatten up the birds.
Jen planted our Christmas moringa tree the day we moved into our house but it hasn’t reached Charlie Brown size yet. Her green thumb can only be held back for so long, however. In the photo above, Jen paused to pose for a picture in front of the new garden with our neighbor. He was a big help.
Above – the before shot.
Below – breaking up the ground before adding in the garden border of broken cinder blocks we found in the corner of the yard.
Below – Jen planting the basil seedlings that she’d started soon after we moved in.