Another haiku because I know you enjoy them immensely. Ahem…

We made lasagne

With our own tomato sauce

It just tastes better

Keith taped a New Hampshire Chronicle episode about hydroponics. (On a small side note, Keith met Fritz Wetherbee at a restaurant a few years ago. Woo. Brush with stardom! Someday we’ll tell you about meeting Flava Flav in the airport!) There’s a place down the road in Hampton Falls called Tomato Joe’s Garden Supply where Joe sells hydroponics supplies. Methinks this might be our answer to the fungus problems we’ve been having (on the plants, people, on the plants! Sheesh.)

In Are We High…Tunnel? I told the story about my parent’s nursery in Vermont. They used to lease one of the plastic greenhouses to a guy who grew lettuce hydroponically. (I never really remembered that until we watched this episode.  Look at me being being all sentimental.) It looked like a big production, but I remember him saying there were fewer bugs. Hm. Could this be our solution?

I plan to check this shop out immediately. While wearing a wig. And sunglasses. And paying with cash. And parking my car three stores down and walking over. Because it is a hydroponics store and it is being watched via satellite, I am sure of it. (You know. The MAN. Shhh.)

DaisyPatch Farm

First off, I love that commercial. So funny. Why, you ask, am I starting this DaisyPatch update with a Planet Fitness commercial? Because I, too, have been lifting things up and putting them down. Over 60 pounds of tomatoes to be exact. In one harvest last week, I hauled in 55.2 pounds. In one bag. It probably would have been funny to see. Every few steps I stopped and put the bag down. Then, grunting like a weight lifter, picked up the bag, went a few more steps and put it down again. It’s not like I can’t lift 55 pounds. I can. But this bag was awkward. (Yeah, we’ll go with that.)

Now begins sauce time. And salsa time. And ketchup time. And catsup time (if that’s how you roll). And stuffed tomato time. You get the idea. If you have a favorite recipe for tomatoes, send it to and I will post it and give you credit. 🙂

My spotty tomato haiku…ahem…

Spotty tomatoes

It’s kind of embarrassing

Damn f’ing fungus

Yup, that’s a decent pile of tomatoes for the first harvest. Look closely at the striped romas. They not lookin’ so hot. The lower half of each plant is just about dead. The spots have spread to the ‘maters as you can see. We’ve made the decision to not grow tomatoes next year. At all. Get rid of the fungus that is buried deep in the soil, possessing it like a demon, coming to the surface on hot, humid days. So, we’re going to jar as many of these as we can (we’ve read up, the spotty tomatoes are fine to eat, but we’re going to cook them anyway. You know, boil off the evil.)

Meanwhile, we’ll deal with the counter (and windowsill and sink…) full of spotty ‘maters. Evil, possessed, spotty ‘maters. Damn it.

I just made bruschetta and want to share the recipe. Before we go there, however, we need a lesson on how to pronounce, “bruschetta.” I used to say “BROO-shett-uh.”  That is incorrect. After ordering a delish rendition of bruschetta at Dolce Vita in Boston’s North End, I have learned to say it correctly. (If you get the chance to go there, GO! Franco rocks, and sings to the crowd. Much fun to be had by all!) 

Ready? Here we go…”Br(roll that ‘r’)oo-SKETT-tuh.” Now, kiss all your fingertips (and thumbtip, is that considered a finger in an example such as this? I think it is, but, whatever, all five of them) at the same time, then pull your hand away and flare your fingers out into a jazz hand. This is a terrible, stereotypical gesture I have learned from movies and television and I use it here without shame.

So, here is the DaisyPatch version of the Dolce Vita bruschetta.

1 loaf Italian bread (I bought a fresh loaf that was soft. You can buy the crusty kind (is that French? Well THAT won’t work. This is an Italian recipe) but I avoid the crusty kind because it shreds the roof of my mouth. Like Captain Crunch. Ouch. That stuff was painful. How did that get on the market in the first place, I ask you? That cereal inflicted injury. Did I digress?) Slice and then toast in the broiler until just lightly browned (too brown and we’ll get that shredded roof of the mouth thing again.)

1 clove garlic, minced

3-4 tomatoes, chopped

1/2 cup fresh basil – chopped

1 tbsp fresh thyme – removed from the stem

1 shallot (or a teensy red onion), chopped

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp olive oil

coarse salt

fresh ground pepper

*Note- I don’t measure. I completely eyeballed it, but I think that looks about right.

Mix the garlic, tomatoes, shallot, basil, thyme in a bowl. Add olive oil. Let sit.

Reduce the balsamic vinegar in a pan over the stove until it starts to look thick. Cool. It will get a bit thicker as it cools. You want it thick like honey.

When you are ready to serve, put the veggie mixings on the toasted bread, salt and pepper to taste.  Drizzle with a little balsamic. Serve it up.

And say it with me. Bruschetta. (Don’t forget the hand gesture – kiss, pull, jazz). Molto bene.

(Author note: I am exceptionally proud of these. All veggies and herbs were ours. And they were delicioso.)

Talk about cukes! We’ve grown pickling cukes before, but not these regular ones. We have 6 plants growing up a vertical trellis. I’ve harvested 6 cukes so far and can count at least 15 more on the plants. My favorite recipe is pretty easy:

Make the dressing first. Put about 2 cups white vinegar, 1/2 cup white sugar and a pinch of paprika into a sauce pan. Boil (it’ll burn your nose, trust me) until the consistency is like a thin maple syrup. Cool in the fridge where it will thicken up. It will be a nice mix of sweet and tangy with a tiny lingering heat of the paprika.

Cut cucumbers into 1 inch chunks. Cut tomatoes into one inch chunks. (You know, about the same amount of each.) When the dressing is completely cool, mix some into the tomato/cukes until just dressed (don’t drown!) Serve immediately. It isn’t really that great the next day.


The Daisy Patch.

My tomato haiku…ahem…

They’re called Tomatoes

My friend calls them TommyToes

Really, his kids do

We have the blight again, but (cross your fingers, knock on wood, pinch the bamboo, yes I am superstitious) (“pinch the bamboo” sounded dirty) they seem to be thriving still. Who knows how long it will last. I think the blight isn’t spreading because it has been so dry. (OK! That is an understatement. It has been bloody, freeking hot, like 105 for New Hampshire is unheard of hellhot.) We have been spraying with organic fungicide (which smells EXACTLY like Grandpa’s camp. Technically, it smells like Bactine, but I only remember Bactine from Grandpa’s camp, ergo, my comparison). We also have been removing the diseased leaves which prevents splashing the fungus during a rainstorm. (Which hasn’t happened. Because it is bloody, freeking hot.)

While outside puttering, I noticed how different the leaves are amongst (between? whatever, you get it) the different varieties of ‘maters. I thought I’d kind of, you know, show a little variety map. Ready? Brace yourself, this is GRIPPING STUFF. (Seriously? Why does this fascinate me? I have no idea.)

Those patio tomatoes, the last one, were a garden center replacement for one we lost. Of course, it is a hybrid and is not touched, at all, by the blight. The others are heirloom and are, of course, affected quite a bit by it. Of course. We are planning to move all the tomatoes to the front kitchen garden next year and the lettuces, etc. will hopefully be in the greenhouse.

All in all, we are hoping to have tomatoes this year. We have already harvested three striped Roma tomatoes, and the plants ARE full of flowers, and Keith has been using the organic bloom booster so here’s hoping the fruit stays ahead of the fungus.

We are freshly back from vacation and, just like last year, have blight on our tomato leaves. Keith’s comment that will stick with me for a while is, “Spots scare me.”

Me too. We got in a 2:30 in the morning, woke up around 9 and proceeded to pick off all the spotty leaves and spray with Bonide (organic) fungicide spray. We already have tomatoes setting and so we hope to save the crop. 49 plants this year. Fingers crossed.

Here’s what’s happened to the rest of the crops:

Beans: dead

Basil: chewed

Edamame: Looks like crap. I promised this was the last year. It will be.

Acorn Squash: Looks good

Pumpkins: Look good

Cukes: Good

Peas: Holy crap, they shot right up

Lettuce: Mostly bolted, I pulled all but a few heads and will put in a summer crop of carrots

Shallots: Great

Cilantro: Can’t find it

Husk Cherries: Taking over my pansies like a weed. Hooray.

Hot peppers: Not bad, not good. Just sort of there.

Potatoes: WOWSY. I went and purchased more Coast of Maine Compost and Peat to hill them up. The greens are over the tops of the bins. Pics to come (I know posts without pictures are boring, but hey, I was busy, did you see the part about the blight?)

Weeds: Lookin’ real good. Our best crop, actually.

One small note before we get down to business.  I am a sci-fi geek as well as a SAP. It doesn’t go so far as having ever played Dungeons and Dragons, though. (To be honest, I’m surprised I never did.) Well, we FINALLY just watched Avatar. Ok, well, we watched the first 1/4 of it then I watched the rest of it. (See, he is NOT a sci-fi geek.) And I cried. Twice. And I want to watch it again. All weekend. Ok, it feels a bit better to admit that.

Actual DaisyPatch news begins here: Did you see the “That 70’s Show” episode where Eric has this dream sequence…”Panties..Glorious Panties?”  That’s how I feel with seeds right now. They’re arriving by mail, I’m taking them out of cabinets, drawers, jars and refrigerators. They are everywhere. I am poring over them like, oh I don’t know, my old Star Wars trading cards perhaps? The ones that came with the worst bubble gum ever. I am pretty sure I saw them in our basement one day, by the way. Hmmm…wonder what they’re worth. It looks like some of those cards are worth about 25cents each. I might have enough to buy…I think at least a packet of seeds.

(Man, look at that, FULL CIRCLE. I am ON FIRE! If you are not keeping up, I went from Sci-Fi to Seeds, back to Sci-Fi and then back to Seeds. Technically, 2 circles. Damn.)

I have pulled the ultimate rookie move (until I pull the next ultimate rookie move). I ordered seeds based upon the name and the picture. Yup. I have no idea…Well, except the beets. I ordered the beets because they were identified as good Winter keepers. Other than that…”Ooh, purple carrots.” Click. “Ooh, Sunberry, what’s that?” Click. “Druzba? How do you say that? DROOZbuh. DroozBAAA. DRUZbuuuuh. Darooooozzzbaaaaaa. Yeah. I want that. I want to say ‘Darooooozzzbaaaaaa.‘” Click. (I promise to learn how to insert .wav files before next post with sound! For now, deal with that.)

I also, in keeping with my resolutions, have ordered Daisies. Shasta Daisies, OxEye Daisies and Painted Daisies. We’re called the DaisyPatch for crissakes, we’re gonna have some damn daisies. HooRah.

So, keep coming back as I keep you posted about all these unique (and hopefully edible, crap, what if they’re not?!) vegetable varieties.

Next post…Pics of some freaky bird-chicken-hawk-foghorn-leghorn-falcony-owl thing that Keith has been watching in the backyard and a philosphical discussion (with myself, oh yeah, it can happen) about what actually defines “edible” because, I have started to question that a little bit.

*Now, hm, what to name this post. Star Seeds? BattleSeed Galactica? DeepSpace Seed? SeedGate 9?…