Husk Cherries



My mosquito haiku…ahem

Dreaded mosquitos

I beg you, stop biting me

It makes me itchy

First topic: Garlic Scapes.  I was quite disappointed to see Scapes at the Farmers’ Market. We didn’t have any. Waah. Garlic Scapes were one of the things, besides Husk Cherries, that we discovered when members of the CSA a few years ago. Nummy. So, when I weeded the Chef’s Garden and didn’t see any Scapes, I was bummed, to say the least. Great. What kind of Garlic did we buy cuz I didn’t want to buy it again. I want scapes (in my best Veruca  impression, “But I want an Oompaloompa now!) 

The next day, what to my wondering eyes should appear? Garlic Scapes. Lots of them.  Whoopee!

Now what? I didn’t like the Garlic Scape pesto recipe I used last year.

Topic #2. I weeded. What? What are you saying, Mr. Dandelion? You’re telling me that if you weed a little bit each day, it is an easier task than waiting until 2 months into the season? Kiss my ass and then rot in the compost heap. On a good note, I found carrot, parsnip and cucumber seedlings. Hooray. I also found some husk cherry and a few tomato seedlings. That’s kind of cool. We’ve had that happen before – a tomato would fall from the vine and leave a seed in the ground, only to make it through the Winter and start growing in the Spring. I had to pull the tomatoes. This was the same garden bed that had the tomatoes last year and we were hit by the late season blight. After doing some reading (thank you Google and several gardening blogs I have decided to follow), I read that you need to not plant tomatoes in the same bed for three years, so I figured I wouldn’t risk it. I pulled that baby and gave it a little heave into the “pile” on top of the twigs, sticks and icky, decomposed things.

On a bad (good?) note, I think I weeded anything that might have been a beet.

Topic #3. Surprise. Our Green Beans are beaning. Greening? Green Beaning? Sporting Beanage? (sniggle).  We ate tonight’s harvest for dinner tonight!

 Yes, Mom, I’m eating my veggies! All 5 of them. Ooh, so full. (This is the type of veggie serving where you really hoped Mom would say, “You can’t eat any dessert until you eat all your green beans.” “Done. No, I didn’t spit them in my napkin. No, I didn’t feed them to the dog. I really ate them, see?” as you wave your napkin to show it is empty & waggle your tongue to show there are no green beans hidden underneath.)

Funny how I used to HATE green beans as a kid. Hate. Gag, actually. I really did. I couldn’t wash them down with milk either because I hated milk. Guh. I don’t care how much chocolate syrup you put in milk, I just can not handle the stuff. (I just realized I’m making this frowny-wrinkled-frown-‘ick’-face as I type this. I suppose that in normal, literary descriptive terms it would be, ‘She wrinkled her nose,’ but I’ve got this whole mouth-turned-down-eyebrows-and-nose-squinched-face on like I just smelled something awful.) Back to green beans. I’ll have to ask my Mom, but I think the beans we ate as kids were canned. My sister and I usually helped prepare dinner and I don’t recall washing any fresh beans. That’ll probably ‘splain it. (Come on, all together now…’Luuuuucyyy…’)

Topic 4: Li’l Bastard. This guy was in the back yard.  I asked Keith, “Did you find that picture on the net to just show me what he looked like?” Uh, no.

Walter Whistlepig is a resident of the Patch. Damn. That guy’s kind of cute, but a have-a-heart eviction notice is now set because we haven’t invested in a fence yet. Wook at that wittle face. BuhBye. You gotta go.

Topic #5. I haven't posted a picture of the buddies in a while.


I woke up early yesterday morning. I’d like to say it was the rays of a new day on a bright, sunshiny dawn peeking through the curtains and warming my face that did it, but, the truth is, I had to pee.  It was kind of drizzly and grey out actually – not a good hair day. After the bathroom, I put a bathrobe on, slipped on a pair of flip flops and went to the Chef’s Garden to pick some strawberries.

I have been hitting traffic every morning and so have been leaving earlier and earlier each day – taking away my favorite garden time. I’ve also been working late each night, so, alas, poor garden has been neglected by me. It is overgrown with weeds (or are they beets, carrots and parsnips? See here for more on that) and I figured there were a few strawberries I could pick before heading to work.

I guess there were a few strawberries! There were  over 100! Some did have slugs on them, but the DE we’ve been using really seemed to do the trick, I think, because last year, every one of them would have been munched on by a slug when I picked it. These are beautiful, right? Then why am I like, “Shit!” instead of “Hooray?”  Well, lately, we’ve discovered that Keith has an allergy to strawberries. He gets a rash if he touches them. That means that these strawberries are not going to magically turn into jam some day while my back is turned (he does that, I’ll pick up ingredients and then come home late from work to a freeking masterpiece that he just “made up!”) My sister is coming over to visit this afternoon and she’s staying until tomorrow. I’ll wash them up and I guess we’ll just pick at them as snacks while I kick her ass in a game of WAR.

The parsley has gone to flower already. Not a big deal, we don’t use parsley that much, I still have an entire ziploc bag of dried, crushed parsley from last season. (If you do not know about my hoarding habit, you must start at the beginning of this blog and catch up, I have quite a penchant for stocking up.) After picking the strawberries and bringing them in the house (still in a nightgown, bathrobe and flipflops I might add), I went back out with a pair of scissors to cut the parsley flower stems and found this creepy crawly visitor. That is about actual size.

 Oh, and 6 of his brothers, all hanging out on different stems of the parsley. I don’t know what it is, but I can bet they were eating the plant. Great. We have another problem, I don’t squish bugs. I don’t. It’s gross (insert involuntary shudder here). It goes back to my childhood days in New Jersey where we had these fat, black crickets, (not those skinny green ones, these were very fat). They would get into the house and chirp and chirp and chirp. Well, one day, I squished one with my bare foot. I didn’t mean to, but it was in my shoe. There was white bug goo mixed with black bug legs and uck in between my toes. (Insert involuntary GAG right here and throw in an involuntary sphincter clench for good measure, that is how fresh and how gross the memory of this is with me.)

So, needless to say, I do not squish bugs. That is a problem. If you don’t kill them, they’ll come back. So, what did I do with these 7 caterpillers? I cut the branch of the plant off, carefully carried the branch with said bug still hanging on, over the the compost pile and threw them down the hill into the pile. I then looked the other way and did that 6 more times.

Ok, all you gardener followers are shaking your head at me, while my non-gardener followers, especially those of you with a low creepy-thing-tolerance are thinking that sounds like a good plan. Well, I am not naive.  I know these things will 1) come back and 2) lay eggs which means 3) make more. Guh. I started looking through the “Insectipedia” to figure out what it was and how to kill it organically, but the site is listed alphabetically by name of bug, so I had to open the link to each bug to see if it was the right one. Yah, that isn’t happening, ewww. So, if I see another, I’m going to drown it in something. Or, maybe I’ll put it on a rock and then, from a distance so I don’t hear the squish, I’ll throw big rocks at it until I think I got it. Gross, I am so skeeved right now, I have to change the subject. If anyone knows how to kill it without a squish, please do let me know. Moving on…

After moving said buggies into their new home to happily munch away on my discarded food scraps (THAT’s the solution, keep feeding them, Jenn! Shut up.) I decided to head out back to check on the tomatoes and husk cherries. Keith had mentioned that some husk cherries had ripened (almost a month early, thanks to starting them indoors early! Look at us!) and he had eaten a few, so I wanted to see how far along things had progressed back there. As I head down the side hill toward the back yard, something moved in the distance. (It’s a small yard, it wasn’t too distant, it was basically at the back of our property, but I’m building suspense, work with me here.) Just beyond the trees something very large was definitely moving. Thankfully, it was moving away from me. Now, remember, my wildlife interactions usually happen when I am poorly dressed and today was no different. How am I going to outrun a vicious coyote or a rabid raccoon in flip flops I ask you? I wrapped by bathrobe tighter, and crept in closer with a strong predatory instinct, playing with danger because that’s the kind of girl I am – brave, bold, MIGHTY! (It was still a bathrobe, but it may as well have been a cape, really. I think I will knit myself one. My friend bought me a kit for superhero goggles, perhaps I will make those up and have them at the ready next time.)

The beast still rustled through the woods. It was large, I could tell it was as tall as my waist. It made no noise except for the sound of the earth and twigs being crushed under it’s weight. I just couldn’t see what it was. The hair on the back of my neck raised up in tense alert. Danger was only feet away. (Where’s my gun? (Read here) Oh right…)

Then I heard it, “BABE!”  The good neighbor was walking through from his yard calling for Babe, his pig who had gotten out of the barn. It was Babe the pig, cute Babe, the piggie I had fed kitchen scraps and scratched behind the ears. Babe was in the backyard. Of course. “He’s over here, I yelled.” Making sure the bathrobe was cinched (greeting a neighbor is not the time to have wardrobe malfunctions), I met him at the back of our property and pointed to where I had last seen Babe. “Do you have a rope? How are you going to get him home?” I asked, memories of using Daisy’s leash as a lasso the last time Babe got out. (My niece and I chased this same pig, much smaller a few years ago, across the street and up the hill, trying to keep him from getting onto the main street. We finally caught up to him and looped Daisy’s leash around his neck and kind of led/trotted him back to his barn.)  “Food,” he answered, holding up something from a take-out box.

I told you he wasn’t a small pig! We tried to gently convince the Good Neighbor, when Babe was still young, to have our friend Popper (www.poppers-sausage-kitchen.com) take care of him when it came time. He looked at us in horror, Babe had already become a pet. I understand, he is all cute and cuddly in that, “Please don’t step on my toe or you’ll crush it” sort of way.

Anyway, who knows how far Babe might have gotten without my keen senses and predatory instinct. Now, if only I could be that brave around bugs.


This will be a picture-less post, but I promise you, it will have the same humor throughout, I am just too damn-ass tired to get the camera and plug it in. Sorry, but read on if you care, this post has been festering in my head all day.

The garden is in. Here’s a breakdown:

Growing: Lettuce -(I plant more seed every few week) Red Salad Bowl, Drunken Woman, Bibb, Green Leaf, (I think some more, again, too tired to get my ass up and check the seed packets); Spinach; Arugula; Garlic, Red Onions, Bush Beans – 2 kinds; Snap Peas; Edamame (yippee!); Tomatoes – Reistomate (supposedly it is like little cherry tomatoes that grow together in a cluster), Sweet Baby Girl, Roma, Striped Roma, Marmande, Red Grape; Husk Cherry; Bell Pepper; Bulgarian Carrot, Indian PC151 and Tepin hot peppers.   

Herbs: Chives; Garlic Chives; Catnip; Oregano; Golden Oregano; Basil (a lot!); Cilantro (not enough!); Thyme; Italian Parsley; Dill; Rosemary.

Fruit: Strawberries; Raspberries.

Seeds just put in: Green Onions; Parsnip; Carrot (I’ll re-seed those every week), more Bush Beans, Broccoli; Beets; Cucumber – 3 varieties

Sounds great, right? Sounds like a wonderful bounty of veggie, herb and fruit goodness, doesn’t it? I can hear it now, “Oh my! Look at all the food you have canned, you’ll be eating all winter!”

So why am I so PISSED OFF? I’ll tell you why. Any self-respecting gardner should have figured it out by now. Go back, read that again. Anything missing?

I FORGOT THE GODDAMNED ZUCCHINI!!!!!!! What the hell? I should just shut the laptop, put on the fucking mucks for the last time and stomp through the gardens, putting a stop to this whole bloody experiment. FOR SHAME, Jenn, FOR SHAME (said in that whispery, condesceding voice. Can you hear it? Listen very closely, it’s there, shaking it’s head in disgust). The problem is, we didn’t plan, we just bought seeds that sounded good, and, well, shit, I forget the damned zucchini, (Oh, but I remembered Shit! Keith did anyway. He reminded me to put a pinch of the guano-in-the-white-bag in the back-fill soil when I planted the tomatoes and the guano-in-the-plastic bag in when I planted everything else.)

“So, what’s the big deal? Why not plant some, Jenn? Don’t give yourself such a hard time. It’s only Mid-May, there’s plenty of time.”  Yeah, well, shut up, annoying positive voice! We’re out of room. I had to pull the Asparagus (planted last week) to make room for the Peppers. 12 Asparagus roots are now hanging in a Valentine-heart-decorated gift bag from the basement rafters. (I told you I was a hoarder, right? Yes, I have an entire collection of gift bags, gift wrap and ribbon for every occasion.) I know that is a random place, but I won’t 1) lose them or 2) forget them if they’re there.

I even discussed zucchini and butternut squash here, in this blog and still forgot them. So, what lesson did I learn? Whatever, I’m too pissed at myself to try to make this into a lesson (the condescending voice just switched into that nasal, mocking voice).

So now what? We are out of wood to build another bed (yes, I said, ‘wood’), I don’t want to put it in our flower beds (I just re-landscaped the front of our house last year and don’t want to mess with it cuz I think it looks pretty if I do say so myself), we don’t have a truck to get more supplies to build more beds, and we can’t just plant it in the ground – beneath our grass/dandelion/ajuga lawn is a very thick layer of nothing but clay. Nothing grows in that!

I think that I have a small amount of either ADD (I am not mocking it, I really wonder!) or something, because that sentence about our clay soil structure just made that scene from Ghost flash through my head. Just for a second, but it was long enough to make me stop, ask myself how I even ALLOWED myself to have the scene from GHOST appear in the first place. That is embarrassing. I will not have chocolate tomorrow in penance.

Source: Wikipedia (Oh look, a picture!)

So, when I realized this morning that I had forgotten the zucchini, I tried to reason with myself (as insane people do sometimes, right?) telling myself, “We don’t really need zucchini. It’s overrated” and “It’ll be plentiful at the Farmers’ Market, go support your fellow farmers even though you can’t call yourself that anymore you silly little gardener” and then it hit me. It’ll be ok.

I have 13 quart-sized ziploc bags of last year’s zucchini, carefully blanched and shredded, hoarded in the basement freezer.


I am so full that I had to change into sweatpants. Tonight’s dinner: Burgers with beef from Normanton Farm. Each burger had a slice of Cabot cheese and bacon from Popper (if you haven’t checked out Popper’s Sausage Kitchen, you MUST!)  Topped with some of our Arugula and lettuce and Appledore Cove’s Chipotle Lime Ketchup. Num num. Local (well sort of, Vermont isn’t within 50 miles). Oh, and the bun was from Nissen bakeries – also New England. Hey, check us out, Barbara Kingsolver!

So what the hell? It is mid-May. I know, I know, my parents always told customers to not plant anything until Mother’s Day. Well, that was last weekend and we’ve had some 34 degree nights and lost a few seedlings in the Chef’s Garden to the frost. We’ve been shmucking (shlepping + mucking) the tender plants into the basement in the evening and out to the greenhouse in the morning in order to try to protect them (yes, before and after the DJ-Day Job).

As you can see, things are getting quite big.

I left control plants of peppers, basil and a husk cherry in the greenhouse to see how they fared each night. We did well – a few ruined leaves, but the flowers hung in there. Whew. So, it hit 34 degrees again last night and everything did fine. I buttoned the house up, putting blankets in the doors where there’s an air gap and we haven’t lost one thing. As a matter of fact, we have flowers.

See the little husk cherry already forming?

Buds on a tomato plant.

The lettuce and arugula are doing well in the Chef’s Garden. The bean sprouts are pretty dead, however, and the edamame was hit by frost so badly, it looks like it was regurgitated. The onion, planted a few weeks ago, seems to not have changed a bit. I know I’m impatient.

It’s just that I am anxious to get everything planted outside. It’s strange, actually, how often I think about our little Patch during the day. I ordered business cards with our logo (Daisy in the daisies) and somehow find a reason, just about daily, to force them on someone – usually some unsuspecting non-gardener who probably couldn’t give a crap but says, “Really?” and so, sounded interested. Poor soul. Here’s our card.

This is a good place to thank my wonderful non-gardening friends for their readership and support. I am sure that reading about slugs, worms, bat shit and tomato (ooh, just pulled a “Dan Quayle” by spelling that with an “e” at the end. At least I was smart enough to delete it. The snotty-spelling-bee-kid in me was just completely disgusted with myself for that) flowers must bore them to tears, but they (thankfully!) read my posts and comment with gusto.

The Gig Girl who quit her, “full-time-full-salaried-full-benefits-with-a-big-girl-office-and-even-a-window job” to be a stay-at-home Mom and is exploring home-based income opportunities in the process (with much humor and wit!) and Gillis Marketing who jumped with both feet and no swimmies into the world of SMM (no, silly, Social Media Marketing) where she tries to educate (dare I say, ‘enlighten”) others in the process. Here’s what she says, “Join me as I learn, communicate and educate my colleagues to use these tools. Join in the discussion… Consider this your therapy, your reality check, your informational portal. I feel pain – you may feel it, too.” Both very bright women who know their stuff.

Tonight’s lesson kids? Eat local, shop local and read local. You’ll feel better about your food and possibly support your sweatpant-wearing neighbors in the process.


I realized it has been over a week since I posted. I’m feeling a bit under the weather – literally. It has been dumping rain for several days now with hurricane force winds and I haven’t been feeling like doing much at all. Bleh. On a calm morning last week, Keith put landscape fabric down in the greenhouse and small stone on top of that, we fastened the rails and would like to get the plastic up. The only way that is even a possibility is if the Wizard of Oz winds calm down or else I can just envision our little friend Jen just flying away as we’re trying to lift the plastic over the frame.

Sad news – we had crop failure. I was looking forward to trying the Arugula microgreens, however, we had them too wet and they turned to snot in the growing tray. I plan on trying again. Soon.

Why haven’t I replanted them? or planted the Edamame? or worked on where we’re going to plant the 50+ Husk Cherries? Bleh. The first day of Spring is Saturday, but I don’t feel like I’ve seen the sun in weeks (I did, last Saturday but that was SO long ago).  Bright clothes for Spring are blinding me as I turn the pages of magazines. No interest.

My girlfriend made me promise that, before we buy one piece of lumber for the chicken coop, Keith and I book a vacation. We haven’t even gotten around to doing that. My sweet husband bought me a little pot of Gerber Daisies. The flowers died and so did the flower buds. WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?!?

When I lived in Vermont, they called this, “Mud Season.” It is Bleh Season and I’m putting a stop to it. I’m taking back sunshine, taking back good mood. I’m leaving for the day job now and picking up some flowers on the way. Tomorrow, I wear pink…

and book a vacation.


We’ve been busy on the DaisyPatch homestead. The heat mats in the basement are making seedlings pop up very quickly (4 days for the Husk Cherries to germinate, whereas last year it took weeks without that heat mat!) We started some Arugula and Mache microgreens as well as the tomatoes, husk cherries,  peppers, and poppies we started. I look forward to trying those. The sap buckets are 1/2 full and were only tapped 3 days ago. Keith picked up the plastic for the greenhouse and we are planning a barn raising as soon as the weather permits (3 days of freezing rain expected on the Seacoast starting…ok, just looked outside…starting NOW) AND, we have signs of life outside.

Catnip

Snowy Oregano

I may make some Catnip/Oregano tea just to say, “I grew it.” Maybe not, that sounds gross.

Betty the cat ate all the Catnip I picked after taking this picture, then, she slept all day. She’s allowed, she’s 15. That’s not a bad idea. I deserve a little rest, too, don’t I? Small private vow, the first salad we eat from our greens, I’m going to have it with a cup of Catnip tea and then take a nap. Now that sounds pretty nice.


I had mentioned in It Ain’t Easy Being Green-House that I would tell you more about tomatoes. Keith had a fantastic tomato crop last year. Well, more than fantastic – he had 2 harvests. Here’s how it happened. He started them under lights in the basement. In January. Yellow Pear tomatoes, Sweet Baby Cherry, Marmande (heirloom) and Plum.

By the time it was ready to move them out in May, we had been eating yellow pear tomatoes from the 8-foot high basement tomato vines. They were in gallon pots and were staked to anything he could find.

Smart guy that he is, Keith cut them down, leaving the roots and about 1 foot of stem and that’s what I planted outside in, what was then, our new garden. They grew up nice and strong and we harvested many, many during the season.

One day's harvest, September 2009

 Here’s what’s growing today!

Basil = pesto = love

Peppers

More Peppers

I just asked Keith to remind me what seeds we ordered yesterday.  Here’s how it went down.

K: Your edamame, some spinach and arugula and Jamaican bat guano. Me: Wait, what? You got what?  K: Guano – bat shit. Me: I thought you were just getting seeds. K: It’s good fertilizer.

All I can do is laugh. God, he just cracks me up. So, we have worms in the basement and shit in the mail. This adventure is getting crazier by the minute. Hang on for the ride.

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