June 24th, 2010

Basil blight, or the end of my dreams

A report came on NPR last night that left me so terrified I wanted to get out of my car and give it all up, right there and then. It wasn’t a report on the oil spill or the wars, it was a story on a new basil blight that has been appearing over on this side of the country. I’m nowhere near qualified to go into the science or specifics of basil blight, so you can read and hear the NPR report here. But the idea of loosing my precious basil made me want to cry. My basil is such a faithful, trustworthy plant. Everything else in my garden is flirting with producing, kind of looking coy and sprouting a flower here and there. The basil is producing and bringing me loads of gardening pleasure, while the other plants are currently just using me for my water (full disclosure – I would too if I was a plant in this heat wave, but I digress). The report said that cases have been reported in New York, New Jersey and Ohio, amongst other places. Let’s think about this – it’s a disease transmitted through the air, and what’s the air that connects New York, New Jersey and Ohio? That’s right, it’s Pennsylvania! The home to my poor, dear, sweet basil. You should all read the NPR article, it has great information and pictures on what to look for. I especially like the suggestion at the end of the article, that if you find the spores on your basil, harvest what isn’t affected, and start stockpiling pesto. For ideas on how to preserve basil, in case you get hit, check out this article from Organicgardening.com.

isn't it beautiful?

Isn't it beautiful? photograph by Rob Cardillo

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