It’s all in the Timing

Great cooks make it look easy.  They pull together a variety of dishes and manage to have everything on the table at the same time.  It’s all in the timing.

For three years now, I’ve tried to plant the tomatoes and basil so that they’re ready to go at the same time as well.  I love caprese salad, and the novelty of growing two of the three main ingredients is fun.

Here’s one of our salads from last summer.

Caprese Salad

Caprese Salad

In prior years, the basil took off, and the tomatoes took a long time to catch up.  This year all the tomatoes self seeded in late winter, sending me scrambling for basil.  I purchased a small plant from the nursery, and planted it near the volunteer potato.  It was about the same size as the tomatoes when it went into the ground, so I patted myself on the back and figured a job well done.


potato plant

Scene of the crime

Something devoured my plant!  I’m not naming names or anything, but their initials are ‘S’ and ‘S’.  Those slippery, slimy garden pests noshed my lovely plant down to the nubs.  Boo!

Now here we are three weeks into spring, the tomatoes are taking off and the basil is…well…gone.

basil plant eaten by snails

Once upon a time I was a Basil plant

I was chatting with my friend Kirra today and she mentioned planting her basil by mistake too close to the tomatoes.  Then it hit me.  Last year I planted the basil and the tomato side by side without any problems.  Since tomato leaves are poisonous, I wonder if the proximity kept the S’s away?  It’s worth a try.

Just before hitting the publish key, I searched the term ‘tomato companion planting’ and you’ll never guess what came up: basil!  Last summer was a happy accident.  So I’ll be headed to the nursery for another small plant, and now I know exactly where it should go.

tomato plants

Hearty Tomatoes

Do you have a favorite summer salad?

Tomato Envy

peppers and tomatoes

Amy’s bounty

You can’t rush the garden.  Not even when you have a case of tomato envy.

You can encourage it, yes.  Lots of support…of course.  But rushed, never.

I planted several heirloom tomatoes this year, but they had a hard time making a go of it.  I bought a few starter plants to fill in, just in case, which in the end was a good idea.  I’m not sure any of the seeds were viable.

The plants from the nursery are green and healthy and starting to bend from the weight.  I scooted the rolling tomato garden to the back of the patio so I can keep an eye on them.  They’re drying out faster now that the plants have taken flight.

City Picker with tomato plants

City Picker with tomato plants

Any day now…

Meanwhile, I received these lovely tomatoes from Amy’s garden. You’ll hear more about Amy in a future post.  Mike paired the tomatoes with basil from our garden and made a delicious caprese salad.  It’s one of my favorites and a sure sign that we’re in the heart of summer.

Caprese Salad

Caprese Salad