Monday, October 22, 2012



When I started this blog several years ago I decided that it would be about art .... particularly my art. I wasn't very interested in sharing what I had for breakfast or which movie I saw last weekend. This post is slightly borderline to me but in making the above label I think it definitely falls under art.

So here's the story (it seems like there is always a story). This past summer, as an experiment, I grew basil in my 1986 Honda Civic Hatchback.... some sweet person gave me this car for $1. Actually it was longer than just the summer because I harvested the last of it today on October 22. As you probably know basil likes heat and sun and sometimes living in the Pacific NW we are a little shy of one or the other of those two ingredients. I decided to use my car as a greenhouse.

I planted two basil plants each in a large pot and put the pot in a large deep saucer to catch any runoff water. I monitored the temperature in the car and would raise or lower the windows as needed. In the evening I rolled the windows up and by the next morning when the sun came up my basil plants were already in a heated space when the outdoor plants were just beginning to warm up. By doing this I think my plants generally got 2 to 3 more hours of warmth a day than if my plants had been in a raised bed in the garden. On really hot days I would occasionally have to open the hatchback to keep the basils from wilting. When I did that I had to pay attention because of the many deer that live in Port Townsend .... they would love snacking on the tender leaves.

Here are some advantages to having a car greenhouse.
1) My car smelled delicious everyday.
2) There was no dust .... bugs of any kind .... or bird poop on any of my basil .... I didn't even have to rinse it.
3) Me and my basil got a lot of attention where ever we went.
4) The leaves and stems stayed very tender. I don't know if this was because the plants didn't have to fight the elements outside like the wind or if it was because I harvested the basil many times over the summer. I have loads of pesto in my freezer.

The label came about as a result of wanting to gift my oncologist with some of my pesto. She had been quite intrigued with the idea of growing basil in a car. I like the result of the label .... and so do both of my sisters .... they want a poster!

I'll try this again next year. It sort of makes me want a mini van .... just think of what I could grow then.

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